Information operations

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (75)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Russia continues its descent, and inter-ethnic disagreements are strongly represented this week. In Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev quits after three decades, positioning his daughter for a future presidency. Belarus updates.

Iran continues its belligerent behavior, including a play to push Russia out of Latakia, and ongoing efforts to sabotage US engagement in Iraq. Good CSIS analysis of Iran’s proxy wars. The fall of ISIS continues. DEFMIN Shoigu sent to Damascus. Israel reports dominated by election, Golan Heights and SECSTATE visit.

DPRK continues its game. PRC reports dominated by Huawei in the EU, and Italy buying into the Silk Road scheme. Updates on Japan SDF.

Interesting analyses on current Western politics trends by Wimmer and Reus-Smit – the latter makes important points. Brexit and gilets jaunes updates. Western Europe and Balkans updates. Erdogan improperly exploits NZ deaths for political gain and offends NZ and AUS.

Air power dominates capability reports, included also the Boeing civil air liner disaster.  IO/IW mostly social media and especially NZ related.

Much on US domestic situation. DoD and SECDEF (Acting), Google vs. DoD, and new CTO. Russia investigation. Partisan politics and divisions.


 

NATO / EU / Russia Reports

 


 

Joint NATO-Georgia Military Exercises Kick Off Near Tbilisi
Around 350 personnel from 24 NATO member states and partner countries started a joint military exercise in Georgia on March 18.
NATO weighing Huawei spying risks to member countries
The alliance takes seriously the potential espionage risk posed by the Chinese telecom giant, says NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Russia / Russophone Reports

 


 

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Foreign Ministry Refuses to Be Drawn on Supposed Alaskan Claims to Island Near Kamchatka
Paul Goble Staunton, March 16 – The Russian foreign ministry typically becomes almost hysterical when anyone suggests that some portion of Russian-controlled territory actually belongs to another country, but exceptionally, the ministry has refused to get exercised about supposed claims by the US State of Alaska to an island near Kamchatka. Instead, in response to a query from Kamchatka journalists about reports that some Alaskan sources are insisting that the uninhabited island of Medny is in fact part of that state, the Russian foreign ministry said that it would not take notice of any Alaskan claims because Moscow has an agreement with Washington on the sea border and Medny is in the Russian zone (mpsh.ru/3493-smi-mid-rossii-prokommentiroval-pretenzii-aljaski-na-chast-kamchatskogo-kraja.html). This measured response may simply be Moscow’s way of turning aside any claims by any Americans other than the central government; but it could signal Moscow doesn’t want to exacerbate relations with Washington further. Had the foreign ministry responded as one might have expected, the opposite would certainly have appeared the case. Last December, Kamchatka news agencies reported, some Internet portals in Alaska said that some in the US State of Alaska feel that Washington made too many concessions to Russia over the sea border between them in the 1990 accord and that the island of Medny should be Alaskan and thus American (kam24.ru/news/main/20190314/67221.html). These claims appeared to have weight because in 1999 the state legislature adopted a resolution expressing its doubts about the accord between the US and Russia on the sea border, an accord which gave Russia control over Wrangel, Herald, Bennet, Henrietta, Sivuch, Kalan, and Medny islands. One Kamchatka agency asked the foreign ministry for its reaction, and now, two months later, it has received an answer: Russia doesn’t interact with or take note of the actions of individual American states but only with the US government in Washington and that government agreed on June 1, 1990, to a line which puts Medny firmly inside the Russian zone. The island is the easternmost of the Komandor islands and is administratively part of Russia’s Kamchatka kray.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘If the Powers that Be Don’t Need the Party of Power, Why Do Russian Voters?’
Paul Goble Staunton, March 15 – The collapse in public support for United Russia has caused Moscow to allow ever more candidates at the regional level to run at least nominally as independents, Andrey Pertsev says; but that tactical response is creating additional problems not only for United Russia but for Vladimir Putin’s power vertical. As public approval for United Russia has tanked, the Presidential Administration has responded by modifying the system Vladislav Surkov put in place and allowing ever more people to run for regional parliaments or even governors, the Moscow analyst writes in a commentary for the Carnegie Moscow Center (carnegie.ru/commentary/78548). The authorities in Moscow have hoped that they can control who these independent candidates are and thus gain the electoral outcomes the Kremlin prefers; but, Perzev argues, the status of an independent allows these candidates to behave differently than Moscow would like even if the center thinks it controls them. When such candidates to regional offices are asked about issues which are the province of the central government like pension reform, they can say, as those nominated by United Russia cannot, that they are not responsible for such decisions and that voters should focus on local issues in their campaigns rather than on all-Russian ones. Such responses not only intensify regional differences but further undermine United Russia in the first instance and the other “systemic” parties as well because the latter too can’t discipline “independent” candidates and force them to support the party line. All this is corrosive of the power vertical. “The powers that be are trying to solve the problem of declining popularity by tactic means and thus destroying their own political infrastructure and harming above all their very own party,” Pertsev says. The center may believe it can count on independents it helps select, but the forces working against Moscow is this regard are strong. The situation has changed, and candidates who don’t want to work with United Russia become deputies who won’t work with it. After all, “if the powers that be don’t need the party of power, then why do voters” or candidates elected by them “need it? Especially because the United Russia people do not have a clear ideology.” Moreover, and as a result, he continues, “the interests of the regional authorities and Untied Russia are beginning to diverge. The governor needs a loyal majority in his legislative assembly and United Russia is a large fraction. In the past, this was one and the same thing, but now it isn’t.” Indeed, if the governor tries to use United Russia as a base, he may very quickly alienate others on whom he needs to rely. At the same time, “the other systemic parties are also suffering. Earlier, they could attract sponsors [for their candidates] far more easily than they can now,” given that sponsors can shift their backing to more pliant independents. All this is working to destroy the system Vladislav Surkov put in place when he was running domestic politics for the Kremlin. He worked to drive the most prominent regional politicians into the party of power in order to improve predictability and management of the country as a whole. That system guaranteed the Kremlin the results it wanted, “but with today’s problems, [this system] clearly cannot cope. However, the center is not putting anything new in its place but only acting in ways that further destabilize its old construction.” It does not appear to have any idea what to do strategically and so acts only tactically. But without a strategy, each of the Kremlin’s tactical steps is creating ever more problems for the regime, a trend that points to disaster for the system on which Vladimir Putin thought he could rely forever in the not too distant future, Pertsev suggests.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Must Counter Threat Posed by Non-Russian Republics, Russian from Tatarstan Says
Paul Goble Staunton, March 15 – Mikhail Shcheglov, head of the Society of Russian Culture of the Republic of Tatarstan, argues that the non-Russian republics within the Russian Federation constitute just as much a threat to the existence of the country as did the union republics to the survival of the USSR. According to him, Moscow has succeeded in blocking this threat in Chechnya by finding a Kremlin loyalist to run things and in Daghestan by imposing a Russia; but it has failed to take the steps needed in Tatarstan to ensure that it does not once again become a secessionist leader (ruskline.ru/news_rl/2019/03/15/respubliki_v_sostave_rossii_instrument_sohraneniya_nacionalnogo_mnogoobraziya_ili_ugroza_raspada_strany/). In Tatarstan, Shcheglov argues, the government continues to be in the hands of the same category of people who dominated Tatarstan in the early 1990s when it was a real problem: rural Tatars who are far more nationalistic than urban ones and who encourage other Tatars to maintain a hostile attitude toward Moscow. The Russian activist from Kazan would clearly like to see all non-Russian territorial units eliminated because they represent a continuing problem. Toward that end, he clearly favors the Daghestani strategy for Tatarstan given what he appears to believe is the extreme difficulty of finding anyone as loyal to the Kremlin there as Ramzan Kadyrov is in Chechnya. But more generally, he says, the country should dispense with such entities in favor of national cultural autonomies, which can be organized wherever non-Russians live and which can be subsidized by the state. Such organizations pose less of a threat to the country and promise to give support to ethnic groups widely dispersed as are the Tatars. Second, he says, if the republics are done away with, Moscow will be able to devote more attention and resources to ensuring the survival of the numerically smallest nationalities, many of whom are at risk. Supporting them in his mind is clearly more important than backing larger ones who may be a threat. And third – and this is the most important part of Shcheglov’s argument – Moscow must take steps to ensure that ethnic Russians retain their share of the population in the republics until the latter are done away with. According to him, their presence is “no more and no less than the most important defensive position as far as the territorial integrity of Russia is concerned.” Shcheglov’s words are important for two reasons. On the one hand, despite their emotional content, they are an accurate reflection of the thinking of many in the Russian capital about the future status of republics and their eventual replacement by national cultural autonomies. And on the other, they call attention to a problem Moscow doesn’t talk much about but that clearly is on the minds of many there: the declining share of ethnic Russians in the non-Russian republics. As many appear to have forgotten, an important component in the role the union republics played in 1991 was their increasing ethnic homogeneity. In the three decades before the Soviet Union came apart, almost all of the union republics became more mono-ethnic, the result of a combination of Russian flight and higher birthrates and longer life expectancies among non-Russians. As a result, they were “decolonized” in this way even before they gained their independence. Today, Russian flight remains at least as significant from the non-Russian republics of the Russian Federation although demographic differences between Russian and non-Russian nations are less significant than they were in the union republics prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union. As a result, some but far from all non-Russian republics are becoming more non-Russian – this is especially true in the North Caucasus – and it is this trend rather than the differences in legal and constitutional status of the non-Russian republics now compared to the past is likely to make all the difference in the longer term.
Police in Yakutia detain several people for acts against migrant workers, following a rape case that has put the region on edge — Meduza
Police in Yakutsk detained the organizer of an unscheduled protest on March 17 against migrant workers, after he used instant messengers to invite others to join his demonstration. A court later fined the man 20,000 rubles ($310) for organizing and staging the event without advance notice.
Following protests against migrant workers in Yakutsk, dozens of bus drivers stay home from work and kiosk vendors are told to shut down for their own safety — Meduza
In Yakutsk, where protests against migrant workers have continued for the past two days, between 80 and 90 buses didn’t run their routes on March 19. According to Andrey Sharygin, the director of Yakutsk’s Unified Dispatch Service, most of the drivers are foreigners.
Businesses Shuttered, Migrants Stay Home Amid Tensions Over Alleged Rape In Russian Region
Some businesses owned by Central Asians have been shuttered, bus services disrupted, and Kyrgyz migrants in Sakha-Yakutia urged to stay home following two days of demonstrations that took place aft…
Police Detain Suspected Attackers Of Migrants In Russia’s Sakha-Yakutia Region
Police in Russia’s Sakha-Yakutia region have detained a group of people accused of attacking migrants from Central Asia following the arrest of a Kyrgyz man suspected of raping a local woman.
Russian TV Channel Accused Of Stoking Ethnic Tensions After Report Smearing Central Asian Migrants
An incendiary TV report about Central Asian migrants in Russia has prompted denunciations on social media and anger over what some viewers deemed an effort to fuel ethnic tensions.
Putin Tells Prosecutors To Protect Rights Of Business Owners
President Vladimir Putin has urged Russian prosecutors to protect the rights of businesspeople “with a view to improving the business climate.”
FSB agents got this ‘Internet extremism’ suspect drunk and filmed him. A court says the footage is legitimate case evidence. — Meduza
Oral arguments are done in the case against Dmitry Tretyakov, the Primorsky Krai lawyer charged with inciting extremism online. He is the first Telegram user to be tried in Russia for the felony offense; all previous cases in Russia involving criminal charges and social-media reposts have been against VKontakte users. Tretyakov’s current arrest expires on April 4.
Russia’s Leftist Opposition Protests Price Hikes, ‘Fake News’ Legislation
Several hundred supporters of mainly leftist opposition forces in Russia gathered in Moscow on March 17 to call for “a change of social and political course” in the country. They rallied against recent pension reforms that raised the age of retirement, a series of tax hikes, and rising prices for goods, services, and housing. Protest organizers and speakers, including Left Front party leader Sergei Udaltsov and former Russia-backed Ukrainian separatist military commander Igor Strelkov, also spoke against recent legislation that would criminalize what Russian authorities deem to be “fake news” or “insults” against authorities.
OPEC: Russia will be fully compliant supply cuts soon, Novak says
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told CNBC that Moscow will be fully compliant with OPEC-led supply cuts over the coming weeks.
‘I Would Go Hungry’: Free Lunch For Russian Pensioners
There is such a thing as a free lunch. A cafe in St. Petersburg, Russia, is feeding pensioners hit by hard times.
An Incinerator In Tatarstan Is The Latest Battleground In Russia’s Garbage Wars
Plans to build a trash incinerator plant in a town in the southern Russian republic of Tatarstan have sparked protests over fears the plant will dirty the air and cause more cases of cancer.
Russian Girl’s Appeal For Putin’s Help Takes A Turn For The Worse
Twelve-year-old Pskov youngster Tasya Perchikova’s request for assistance for her desperate and impoverished mother has brought the family more trouble than they could imagine.
Verdict Being Read In Chechen Activist Titiyev’s ‘Revenge’ Trial
A judge in Russia’s Chechnya region has started reading the verdict in the trial of human rights activist Oyub Titiyev, who has been jailed for over a year on a drug-possession charge he and his su…
France ‘Seeking Arrest’ Of Two Russian Ex-Athletics Officials
France has issued arrest warrants for two former Russian athletics officials as part of an investigation into doping cover-ups, reports say.
Two Russian Governors Resign Amid Shake-Up Of Regional Leadership
Two regional governors in Russia have submitted resignation letters to President Vladimir Putin amid an ongoing shake-up of regional leadership.
Putin Appoints Kickboxer To Head Kalmykia Region
Kalmykia, a Russian region that was long headed by a chess-mad authoritarian who claimed to have met aliens on a spaceship, now has a champion kickboxer at its helm.
Russian Governor Steps Down Amid Rumored Regional Leadership Shake-Up
The governor of Russia’s Chelyabinsk Oblast has resigned and the governor of Murmansk Oblast has reportedly stepped down, amid media speculation that further shake-ups in the country’s regional lea…
He Was Painted Gold And Wearing Only A Thong And Russian Police Want To Talk To Him.
Police in Moscow are searching for a man who walked around almost completely naked inside the Tretyakov Art Gallery — the same Moscow museum where a man in January removed a valuable painting from…
‘I just absolutely can’t not care’ A new online project collects the memories of thousands of ordinary Russians — Meduza
Linor Goralik, a writer and journalist already known for her online innovations, has released a new media platform called PostPost.Media. The project, which has no external investors or sponsors, publishes ordinary people’s stories on subjects as various as children’s horror books, odd family eating habits, and Soviet government leaders: it highlights both the most memorable events in Russian history and Russian memories of familiar, everyday situations. The website also announces that a series of books based on PostPostMedia’s collected memories will be published beginning in the summer of 2019. Meduza journalist Dmitry Kartsev spoke with Goralik about how her project fact-checks the stories it receives and what can make nonfictional stories shock readers as much as fiction.
Russian Camp Managers Given Lengthy Prison Sentences In Boating Deaths Of 14 Children
Two former managers of a Russian summer camp where 14 children died in a 2016 boat tragedy have been given lengthy prison terms for negligence.
Russia’s Murmansk Raises Funds For Sailors Detained In Cape Verde For Alleged Drug Smuggling
The northwestern city of Murmansk has begun raising funds in support of the sailors who have been detained in the Atlantic archipelago of Cape Verde since February 1 on suspicion of smuggling nearly 10 tons of cocaine aboard their vessel, officials say.
Salvaged In Siberia, A Historic U.S. Aircraft Gets A New Lease On Life
A U.S.-made transport plane, supplied to the Soviet Union during World War II, went down in the Siberian tundra in 1947 and remained there for nearly 70 years. Now it’s being restored in Krasnoyarsk by technicians and historians who want to share its dramatic wartime and postwar legacy with the public.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports

 


 

Kazakh President Nazarbaev Abruptly Resigns, But Will Retain Key Roles
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has abruptly resigned after nearly 30 years in office, but will continue to head the ruling party and keep his lifetime post as chairman of the influential Secu…
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev says he is resigning – media – news world | UNIAN
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev says he has resigned from his position after nearly 30 years in power in the Central Asian country. It was not immediately clear whether Nazarbaev, 78, would take another position.
Nazarbayev Resigns As Kazakhstan’s President; Was First Elected In 1991 : NPR
Nazarbayev is the only president Kazakhstan has ever known. He first rose to authority as a Communist Party official — and he’s been accused of human rights abuses.
New Kazakh president: Astana will be renamed to Nursultan
20.03.19 13:21 – New Kazakh president: Astana will be renamed to Nursultan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev proposes renaming capital Astana to ‘Nursultan’ in honour of ex-leader Nursultan Nazarbayev. View news.
What does 30 years in power look like? Follow Kazakhstan’s outgoing president from the Soviet Communist Party Congress to his handshake with Donald Trump — Meduza
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Kazakhstan to Rename Capital City Nursultan, After Authoritarian Leader Praised by Trump
Astana will now be named after Nursultan Nazarbayev, who ruled the country from the Soviet era until the present day.
Nazarbaev’s Daughter Handed Powerful Senate Post As Kazakhstan Gets New President
Former President Nursultan Nazarbaev’s eldest daughter was elected speaker of Kazakhstan’s upper parliament house a day after her father announced his resignation, thrusting her into a highly prominent role just over a year ahead of the next scheduled presidential election.
In succession clue, Kazakh leader’s daughter elevated after his resignation | Reuters
Kazakhstan took a step closer to a carefully choreographed dynastic succession on Wednesday as the daughter of its long-serving ruler was named to a post that put her in line for the presidency a day after her father stepped down.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Conflict on Kyrgyz-Tajik Border Escalates from Stone Throwing to Use of Lethal Force
Paul Goble Staunton, March 14 – The border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, one that has been only partially demarcated and that includes exclaves of one in the other, has often been the site of clashes between the people living along it. But this week one of those has escalated from stone throwing to the use of lethal force that has cost the lives of at least two Tajiks. On Wednesday, Kyrgyz workers attempted to work on a road bisecting the Tajik exclave of Barukh in Kyrgystan. That led local Tajiks to throw rocks at the workers, the workers responded, and the situation escalated to the point that Kyrgyz border units fired on the Tajiks killing at least two of them (tajikta.tj/ru/news/voennye-kyrgyzstana-otkryli-ogon-po-zhitelyam-tadzhikskogo-sela-protestovavshim-protiv-stroitelstva- and tajikta.tj/ru/news/v-rezultate-konflikta-na-tadzhiksko-kyrgyzskoy-granitse-pogib-grazhdanin-rt-). Tajik border guards then intervened and appear to have opened fire as well before more senior officials and finally the presidents of the two countries spoke and ordered both sides to stand down (fergana.agency/news/105895/ and tajikta.tj/ru/news/prezidenty-kyrgyzstana-i-tadzhikistana-obsudili-slozhivshuyusya-situatsiyu-na-granitse). The presidents agreed to establish a binational commission to take up the grievances of both sides and to push for the delimitation and demarcation of the border in a way both nations could agree on. To that end, they established a bi-national commission which has already held its first meeting (fergana.agency/news/105895/). In yet another indication of how much both sides desire to avoid any further escalation, Bishkek shifted residents of two Kyrgyz villages, Ak-Sai and Kok-Tash, into the regional capital of Batken lest their presence exacerbate the border conflict (gov.kg/?p=130327). One reason that the presidents of the two Central Asian countries have moved quickly to quash this conflict is that some in Moscow are already advocating that the Russian government use this clash as the basis for intervening in the two former republics, possibly beyond what either Bishkek or Dushanbe would want (vz.ru/world/2019/3/14/223224.html).

Belarus Reports

 


 

Belarus Criticizes Russian Ambassador’s Statements On Minsk-Moscow Ties
Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Anatol Hlaz has criticized Russian envoy to Minsk Mikhail Babich’s recent public statements about the two countries integration, calling them “artificial and j…
Belarus Orders Expulsion Of Christian Convert Facing Death Penalty In Iran
Belarusian authorities have ordered the expulsion of an Iranian man who has converted to Christianity and is wanted by Tehran for apostasy and alleged murder, despite warnings by international huma…
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Belarus will Beat Ukraine into the EU and NATO, Pryanikov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, March 17 – Moscow’s arrogance and mishandling of Belarus is so alienating its last ally that it is now possible to predict, Russian commentator Pavel Pryanikov says, that Belarus will be the first CIS country to join both the European Union and NATO, getting in long before Ukraine and possibly Georgia, both of which have left that Moscow-dominated group. The reasons for thinking so, the editor of the Tolkovatel portal says, is that Belarusians do not have many of the problems Ukraine does. It doesn’t have the regional variations of its southern neighbor. It doesn’t have problems with its Western neighbors. It is small; and its economy is in relatively good shape (rusmonitor.com/pavel-pryanikov-rossiya-sama-ottalkivaet-svoego-poslednego-soyuznika-belorussiyu.html). Those qualities will make Belarus a far more attractive candidate for membership as far as the West is concerned despite everything people say about Alyaksandr Lukashenka and his authoritarian regime. And Belarus will almost certainly move in that direction given the arrogant and aggressive ways Moscow has behaved in recent weeks. The scandals surrounding Putin’s man in Minsk are only the most recent, but they may prove the most telling both in Minsk and in Brussels as well (topcor.ru/6836-pochemu-v-minske-razgnevalis-iz-za-razgovorov-rossijskogo-posla-pro-dengi.htmlreform.by/aleksej-venediktov-naznachenie-babicha-naznachenie-prokuratora-v-zavoevannuju-provinciju/ and svobodaradio.livejournal.com/3896780.html).

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

 


 

Iran making own plans for a potential war
The Trump administration seems oblivious to the potential Iranian response to U.S. military action, warn multiple former officials. And yet Iran has been telegraphing its intentions — including its capacity and willingness to use terror — if a war takes place.
UAWire – Iran trying to oust Russia from Syrian Latakia
Iran could obtain control over a container port in the Syrian province of Latakia. Negotiations between the leaders of the Islamic republic and …
Getting Real About Iran
The Trump administration’s efforts to contain Iran largely fit the circumstances. It would do well to be distracted neither by calls for military regime change nor by pleas to preserve the Iran nuclear deal at all costs.
World War 3: Iranian President Rouhani calls for curses on US Israel and Saudi Arabia | World | News | Express.co.uk
IRAN’s President Hassan Rouhani has called on the Iranian people to curse the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
War by Proxy: Iran’s Growing Footprint in the Middle East | Center for Strategic and International Studies
Download the Brief       The Issue
U.S. Navy veteran sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran for insulting top leader, posting private photo – New York Daily News
Michael White, a U.S. Navy veteran, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran.
US Navy veteran sentenced to 10 years in Iranian prison: Lawyer | News | Al Jazeera
Iran has convicted Michael White on two charges, family lawyer says. He has been held since July last year.
Navy veteran Michael T. White sentenced in Iran to 10 years in prison
Michael T. White, a U.S. Navy veteran, was sentenced to 10 years in an Iranian prison, according to his attorney, potentially fueling more friction between the U.S. and Iran.


Fox News reports ISIS has fallen in Syria
Fox News declared Thursday the Islamic State caliphate has fallen, one day after President Trump said the terrorist organization would be wiped out overnight.
ISIS looming defeat in Syria enclave Baghouz a milestone, but fight with terror group won’t end – CBS News
America's battleground allies appear relaxed and an official declaration of victory is expected soon, but many ISIS militants have simply melted away
ISIS caliphate has crumbled and last stronghold liberated, Fox News has learned | Fox News
The caliphate has crumbled, and the final offensive is over. While the official announcement hasn’t yet been made – Fox News has been told that this village, the last ISIS stronghold, is liberated.
Battle for last Islamic State enclave edges toward its end | Reuters
The operation to take Islamic State’s last enclave in eastern Syria looked close to an end on Wednesday, with no sign of clashes as U.S.-backed fighters said they were combing the area for hidden jihadists.
President Donald Trump, showing a map, declares ISIS will be ‘gone by tonight’ – ABC News
President Donald Trump unfurled a piece of paper and then guided journalists through two maps of Syria and Iraq, showing the progress of the Islamic State’s defeat.
Trump displays Syria map detailing ISIS territory loss, vows terror network ‘will be gone by tonight’ | Fox News
President Trump on Wednesday brandished a striking map showing how the Islamic State’s presence in Syria has diminished since he took office, while vowing the deadly terrorist network will be gone “by tonight” as he showed reporters the tiny spot representing their last stand. 
The Latest: IS suspects in killing of 4 Americans captured | Fox News
The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local): 2:40 p.m.
ISIS Camp In Baghouz Is Captured As U.S. Allies Declare Progress In Syria : NPR
“This is not a victory announcement,” the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces say, even as they celebrate a breakthrough in a battle in Syria’s Euphrates River Valley.
British actor who joined anti-ISIS fight says he’s having trouble gaining re-entry to England, U.S. | Fox News
As the final ISIS enclave in eastern Syria shrinks almost into non-existence – a sign that their last fragment of territorial control that once spawned large chunks of Iraq and Syria is almost over – one western fighter, Michael Enright, who left his Hollywood career to take up arms against the brutal insurgency says he has been left languishing without a country to safely return to.
Actor turned anti-ISIS fighter Michael Enright: ‘I don’t care about being famous’ | Fox News
An actor becomes incensed by the merciless video killings by ISIS and abandons his comfortable life in Los Angeles to travel to Syria.
Actor who went to fight against ISIS can’t get back into the US or UK | Daily Mail Online
Michael Enright, who is British but moved to Los Angeles when he was 19 to become an actor, went to Syria in 2015 to join the Kurdish YPG militia in a bid to take down the Islamic State.
Hard-Core Islamic State Members Carry Ideology From Crushed Caliphate – WSJ
A hardened core committed to Islamic State’s mission raises questions about the totality of the group’s defeat even as it loses almost all its territory and its less committed members fall away.
ISIS militants vow to keep fighting as final battle in Syria drags on – CBS News
For weeks, U.S. and coalition airstrikes have been battering a tiny area still held by the violent militant group
US-backed forces admit to ‘difficulties’ beating IS in Syria | Fox News
U.S.-backers forces fighting to take back the last Islamic State group outpost in Syria say they are facing difficulties defeating the group.
Syria Conflict: Sorting out America’s Role | National Review
If withdrawing from Syria means handing a victory to Vladimir Putin, then we are doing something other than fighting ISIS, something that certainly can’t be described as “non-intervention.”


Russia Defense Minister Meets With Syria’s Assad, Hands Him Message From Putin
Russia’s defense minister has traveled to Damascus where he handed a message from President Vladimir Putin to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, the Russian Defense Ministry says.
UAWire – Russian Defense Minister visits Syria to deliver Putin’s message to al-Assad
The Russian Ministry of Defense stated that on Tuesday, March 19, Russian Defense Minister, Sergey Shoygu, paid an official visit to Syria, …
No One Wants to Help Bashar al-Assad Rebuild Syria – Defense One
The Syrian president appears comfortably in power, but his supporters in Moscow can’t afford to pay for reconstruction; his adversaries in the West …
Turkey announces joint raids with Iran against Kurdish rebels | Iran News | Al Jazeera
Interior minister says Turkey and Iran launched joint operation against PKK, a claim state media in Tehran denies.
Turkey, Iran Join Forces Against Kurdish Rebels
Ankara claims historic collaboration in joint military operation against insurgents but analysts remain skeptical as regional rivalries remain
Turkey Joins With Iran To Launch Military Operation Along Border : NPR
Turkey says the two unlikely allies — one a NATO member, the other a target of U.S. sanctions — have joined forces against the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK.


Pompeo suggests God sent Trump to save Israel
“As a Christian, I certainly believe that’s possible,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said when asked whether the president had an explicitly divine mission.
Pompeo: It’s ‘Possible’ Trump Was Sent by God to Save the Jewish People From Iran
SecState, comparing president to biblical tale, says the “Lord is at work” during visit to Jerusalem.
Pompeo’s Visit to Israel Seen as Election Boost to Netanyahu – WSJ
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Israel to discuss threats the country faces from Iran and its allies, a visit that buttresses Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign message as he seeks to win a fifth term in April 9 elections.
Pompeo calls for Gulf unity at start of Middle East tour | Kuwait News | Al Jazeera
US secretary of state started his tour in Kuwait City where he attended the third Kuwait-US strategic dialogue session.
Donald Trump says it’s time for US to recognize ‘Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights’ – CNNPolitics
President Donald Trump on Thursday overturned longstanding US policy regarding the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, announcing “it is time” for the US to “fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty” over the region.
Trump’s Golan Announcement Was No Impulse Tweet – Defense One
The push for Trump to make such a move has been going on for more than a year, due to parallel efforts by Israeli officials and members of Congress.
Trump’s support for Israel on Golan Heights separates him from 2020 Dems: Tom Bevan | Fox News
President Trump has made yet another move to strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and Israel, one that may also serve as a political calculation going into 2020, Real Clear Politics co-founder Tom Bevan argued Thursday.
Syria condemns Trump’s stance on Golan Heights sovereignty | News | Al Jazeera
It says Trump’s stand shows ‘blind bias of the US’ towards Israel and vows to recognise sovereignty over Golan Heights.
The Golan Heights Was Once an Arab Rallying Cry. Not Anymore. – The New York Times
The muted Arab response to President Trump’s call to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory shows Syria’s weakness amid a reordered Arab world.
With Trump and Netanyahu in lockstep, Democrats wrestle over support for Israel – The Washington Post
Two Democrats unveiled a resolution condemning the boycott movement targeting Israel to counter the perception the party is fractured in its backing for the Mideast ally.
Beset in Israel and facing a tough re-election, Netanyahu clings to Trump
Facing one of his toughest election challenges in years, Benjamin Netanyahu, the embattled Israeli leader, is playing the Trump card for all it’s worth.
Ted Cruz: ‘Useful idiots’ at United Nations help Hamas
A group of “useful idiots” at the United Nations accused Israel of committing war crimes rather than hold terrorist groups responsible for using human shields in recent protests, a prominent Republican senator argued Monday.
Critics slam UN for pointing fingers at Israel in new report while not also condemning Hamas’ use of human shields | Fox News
It has almost been one year since the start of the Gaza-Israel border uprisings that left 189 Palestinians dead in a monthslong rash of violent demonstrations demanding an end to the blockade on Gaza and the right to return to their lands. To mark the March 30 anniversary, a three-person U.N. war crimes investigation team, as part of a Commission of Inquiry (COI), has released a report indicating that Israeli security forces committed possible war crimes and crimes against humanity, and this week called on Israelis to prevent snipers from using lethal force against demonstrators.
After Rockets Are Fired at Tel Aviv, Israel and Hamas Quickly Pull Back – The New York Times
The Israeli military said the rocket fire had been a mistake. A Hamas official blamed rogue militants. Either way, both sides worked to restore calm.
Israel elections: Ex-army chief denies claims of stolen sex tape after Iran cyber attack | The Independent
Israel’s ex-army chief – and frontrunner in the country’s upcoming elections – dismissed claims Iran stole a sex tape in a cyber-attack on his phone, calling the reports “political spin”. Benny Gantz denied he was compromised by the Iranian phone hacking incident that Israel’s internal intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, revealed to him a month ago.
Gantz, Netanyahu’s Challenger, Faces Lurid Questions After Iran Hacked His Phone – The New York Times
The former army chief with the best chance to unseat the prime minister in April’s election is suddenly on the defensive, and not about the issues.
Democrats unveil bipartisan measure rebuking boycott movement against Israel – The Washington Post
The House resolution also reaffirms the need for a two-state solution to the decades-long conflict in the Middle East.
Israel elections: ‘Fascism’ perfume ad sparks online debate – BBC News
A mock ad features the country’s right-wing justice minister spraying a bottle of “Fascism” perfume.
Why Is Israel’s Justice Minister in an Ad for ‘Fascism’ Perfume? – The New York Times
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked adopted the arch irony of internet trolls in a provocative ad before Israel’s elections. Critics called it too serious a subject to joke about.
Singing in Europe’s last Middle Eastern colony | Israel | Al Jazeera
Why is Israel part of the Eurovision song contest?


Iraq Prepares to Evict U.S. Troops – Foreign Policy
Pro-Iran factions are pushing for the move just as the Islamic State is starting to hit back.
U.S. Pressures Iraq Over Embrace of Militias Linked to Iran – The New York Times
The push against the Iraqi groups by top American officials has fueled tensions between the two nations and within the Trump administration.
Iran just struck several deals with Iraq, and Washington isn’t happy
Iran is upping its game in Iraq as U.S. influence recedes, deepening ties with its war-weary neighbor and betting on bilateral economic activity to help offset tough sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.
Trump administration grants Iraq a new 90-day Iran sanctions waiver
The Trump administration is granting Iraq a renewed 90-day waiver exempting it from U.S. sanctions on Iran, a State Department official told CNBC on Tuesday.


Huge protests in Algeria as allies turn on Bouteflika | News | Al Jazeera
Crowds gather at capital Algiers’ landmark Grand Poste square, demanding the president step down.
Algerian protests against President Bouteflika ‘biggest yet’ – BBC News
Thousands of people flood the capital’s streets to demand the president’s immediate resignation.
Born into al-Qaida: Hamza bin Laden’s rise to prominence | Fox News
Years after the death of his father at the hands of a U.S. Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan, Hamza bin Laden now finds himself in the crosshairs.
Saudi crown prince launched covert campaign to silence dissenters prior to Khashoggi killing: report | TheHill
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched a covert campaign to silence dissenters more than a year before the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the New York Times
Afghan adviser refuses U.S. demand to apologize for broadside on Trump envoy
U.S-Afghanistan relations hit a new low when Trump administration officials demanded an apology from a top Afghan official who refused.
Who Are the Private Contractors Fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan? – Defense One
An inside look at this invisible military force.
The US could be guilty of war crimes in Somalia and has killed civilians in airstrikes, according to a new report | Business Insider
The US military could be guilty of war crimes in Somalia, according to a new report that challenges what the government has said about civilian casualties from its bombing campaign against al-Shabab, an al-Qaida affiliate, in the African nation.
India, Pakistan threatened to unleash missiles at each other: sources | Reuters
The sparring between India and Pakistan last month threatened to spiral out of control and only interventions by U.S. officials, including National Security Advisor John Bolton, headed off a bigger conflict, five sources familiar with the events said.

 


 

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports

 


 

UAWire – The US accuses two Russian ports of violating sanctions against North Korea
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury stated that they suspect two Russian ports in Vladivostok and Nakhodka of violating the sanctions regime established by the UN Security Council against North Korea. According to the U.S. Treasury, vessels that participated in the transshipment of oil and coal to North Korean tankers visited Vladivostok and Nakhodka ports. In addition to the two Russian ports, this scheme also involved four ports in China, four in Taiwan, three in South Korea and one port in Malaysia. “Treasury will continue to enforce our sanctions, and we are making it explicitly clear that shipping companies employing deceptive tactics to mask illicit trade with North Korea expose themselves to great risk,” reads the statement. The U.S. Treasury Department added the Russian Tantalus and Vityaz ships to the list of violators of sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, noting that this inclusion does not automatically mean the introduction of sanctions against them. Up to this point, more than 60 vessels appeared in the lists of violators of the sanctions regime against North Korea. On March 21, 18 more ships from different countries were added to the list The UN Security Council introduced new international sanctions against the DPRK in December last year. The United States was the author of the resolution with the new restrictive measures against Pyongyang. The resolution that aimed at limiting around 90% refined products export to North Korea was the “answer” to the DPRK’s latest test of a ballistic missile. In addition to the oil export restriction to North Korea, the document requires that all UN countries retrieve all their labor migrants from the DPRK to their homeland within two years. Pyongyang regarded this resolution as “equivalent to a complete economic blockade” of the country. Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that it was fully abiding by the UN international sanctions against North Korea and denied accusations of Moscow’s illegal trade with the DPRK.
Trump takes increased control over North Korea nuke talks: report | TheHill
President Trump is taking increased control over nuclear negotiations with North Korea, according to a Monday report by Time magazine.
Bolton: North Korea ‘not willing to do what they needed to do’ for nuclear deal | TheHill
National security adviser John Bolton hammered North Korea in an interview broadcast Sunday, saying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was unwilling to take the necessary steps to reach a nuclear deal with the U.S.
John Bolton warns North Korea not to test missiles
President Trump’s top national security adviser is warning North Korea not to renew missile tests as negotiations to dismantle the regime’s nuclear weapons program have stalled out.
The U.S. and North Korea Are Back to Talking Tough – Defense One
Pyongyang’s latest threats don’t necessarily mean diplomacy is dead. But they are a sign of just how deadlocked nuclear talks have become.
North Korea withdraws from DMZ joint liaison office after new US sanctions – CNN
North Korea is withdrawing from a joint liaison office near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) with South Korea, a key symbol of the rapprochement and ongoing peace process between the two countries.
Kim’s Old War Machine: North Korea Has Thousands of Ancient Tanks | The National Interest
A threat or a joke? 
Kim Jong Un under fire for flagrantly violating sanctions with his mysterious, growing fleet of luxurious vehicles | Fox News
Despite the robust United Nations sanctions that have long been slapped upon North Korea – banning sales of luxury goods and vehicles to the nuclear weapons-procuring and human rights-abusing government – leader Kim Jong appears to have no problem curating an extravagant car collection, and flagrantly flashing the violations for the world to see.
What happened at the North Korean Embassy in Madrid? – CNNPolitics
Spanish authorities have confirmed they are investigating a reported attack on the North Korean Embassy in Madrid, a spokesperson for Spain’s National Police told CNN.
A shadowy group trying to overthrow Kim Jong Un allegedly raided a North Korean embassy in broad daylight – The Washington Post
Rumors have swirled about the motivations behind the attack, which took place days before President Trump’s summit with Kim.
Group seeking to overthrow Kim behind North Korea embassy raid in Spain: Washington Post | Reuters
A dissident organization committed to overthrowing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was behind a raid on the North Korean embassy in Spain last month, The Washington Post reported on Friday, quoting people familiar with the planning and execution of the mission.


China says 13,000 ‘terrorists’ arrested in Xinjiang since 2014 | Reuters
Authorities in China have arrested almost 13,000 “terrorists” in Xinjiang since 2014, the government said on Monday, in a policy paper defending its controversial de-radicalisation measures for Muslims in the restive far western region.
Masood Azhar Is China’s Favorite Terrorist – Foreign Policy
Beijing’s U.N. block sent a signal—and a warning—to Pakistan.
Explosion at Chinese chemical plant kills 47, injures 640 | Reuters
An explosion at a pesticide plant in eastern China has killed 47 people and injured more than 600, state media said on Friday, the latest casualties in a series of industrial accidents that has angered the public.
“We knew we’d be blown up one day”: China chemical plant blast kills dozens, injures hundreds, triggers small earthquake – CBS News
Woman at site of one of China's worst recent industrial accidents says she's long worried about safety and pollution there; explosion was so strong it triggered small quake
Police in China Detain Chemical Plant Employees After Explosion Kills 47 – The New York Times
An undisclosed number of factory personnel were held after the blast, which killed at least 47 people and raised fears of spreading toxic substances.


Next China: Uncertain Times – Bloomberg
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China says it will now treat US companies more fairly. They aren’t convinced – CNN
China claims it’s about to create a level playing field for international companies, but many of them are still wary of expanding their presence in the world’s second largest economy.
Huawei pleads not guilty to charges that it violated sanctions on Iran – CNN
China’s Huawei pleaded not guilty Thursday to all charges that it violated US sanctions on Iran and obstructed justice in the investigation that followed.
5G: US and China are sparring over Huawei in Germany – Vox
The US and China are at loggerheads over Huawei’s presence in Germany and Europe after Merkel’s announcement.
Despite U.S. Pressure, Germany Refuses To Exclude Huawei’s 5G Technology : NPR
The U.S. says it may stop sharing intelligence with Germany if it adopts Chinese firm Huawei’s 5G technology. But the threats haven’t swayed Germany, which says it can set its own security standards.
Did The U.S. Just Lose Its War With Huawei?
Huawei has turned the tide in its long-ranging battle with Washington. The battleground has always been Europe, and the news that Germany will not ban their 5G technology and will push for a coordinated EU response is the biggest blow yet to Washington.
Italy Tries to Have it Both Ways
In Rome this week the cash-strapped Italian government is due to sign on to China’s New Silk Road investment program, becoming the first G7 country to do so — that’s infuriating both Washington and Brussels
Reporter’s Notebook: Italy’s poised to breaks ranks with G-7, raising fears of a Chinese Trojan horse | Fox News
Chinese President Xi Jinping, in an editorial charm offensive published Wednesday in one of Italy’s leading newspapers, said Chinese youth love pizza and tiramisu. Meanwhile, the rest of Europe is not loving much at all about Xi’s visit to Italy. 
As Xi heads to Italy, China takes Belt and Road controversy in its stride | Reuters
Misunderstandings over China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) are “hard to avoid”, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Wednesday ahead of a trip to Europe by President Xi Jinping during which Italy is set to join the multi-billion dollar trade scheme.
Italy rattles US and EU with likely support for China’s Belt and Road | World news | The Guardian
Leaders set to endorse Italy’s role in ‘Silk Road’ trade network during Xi Jinping’s visit this week
EU Leaders to Discuss Ways to Limit Chinese Influence at Summit Dinner
Caught between new U.S.-Chinese rivalry for economic and military power, EU leaders will try to find a middle path
How Rich Chinese Parents Get Their Kids Into U.S. Colleges – Foreign Policy
Americans aren’t the only one paying for the process.


A Rising China Is Driving the U.S. Army’s New Game Plan in the Pacific – Foreign Policy
New missiles and large-scale exercises part of long-term strategy to deter Beijing.
U.S. B-52 bombers train with navy, ASDF over East China Sea | The Japan Times
The U.S. Air Force said Thursday it sent two B-52 bombers over the East China Sea for training with the U.S. Navy and Air Self-Defense Force near Okinawa Prefecture, the latest mission in the waterway that is home to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands. The training mission, which took place Wednesday, was part of the so-called continuous bomber presence operations the U.S. military says have been ongoing since March 2004 and are part of the United States’ long-standing “freedom of navigation” policies. “Two B-52H Stratofortress bombers took off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and conducted integration training with the U.S. Navy, Koku Jieitai (Japanese Air Self-Defense Force) and F-15C Eagles assigned to the 18th Wing, Kadena Air Base, Japan, in the vicinity of the East China Sea,” the U.S. Pacific Air Forces said in a statement. The U.S. and Japanese militaries regularly conduct such exercises in the East China Sea. Beijing — which also claims the Senkakus and calls them Diaoyu — in response often dispatches ships and aircraft to the area surrounding the tiny islets. In November 2013, China declared an air defense identification zone, in which aircraft are supposed to identify themselves to Chinese authorities, in the East China Sea. The United States and Japan have refused to recognize the ADIZ, and many observers have viewed it as an attempt by China to bolster its claims over disputed territories, like the uninhabited Senkakus. Beijing said in 2017 that Washington should respect the ADIZ after Chinese officials warned a U.S. bomber that it was illegally flying inside the East China Sea zone. The Pentagon rejected the Chinese call and said it would continue its flight operations in the region.
Japanese fighters scrambled to intercept Chinese submarine hunter plane – Defence Blog
On 20 March, the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) scrambled fighter jets to intercept Chinese anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) aircraft, commonly known as submarine hunter plane. Japanese fighters scrambled to intercept one People’s Liberation Army Air Force Y-8Q GX6 submarine hunter aircraft operating over the East China Sea. It should be noted that JASDF has identified aircraft as Y-9. Despite having a Y-8 prefix, the Y-8Q is actually based upon the modernized Y-9 tactical airlifter, rather than the older Y-8. The Y-8Q, also designed as Y-8 GX6, is a Chinese modern maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft equipped with seven-meter-long Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) boom, which detects the magnetic signature of enemy submarines’ metal hulls as the aircraft flies over them. Y-8Q likely also features a number of multirole mission consoles in its mission cabin, along with a mission planning area, and a rest area featuring bunks for long duration missions. According to the current information, Chinese submarine hunter planet weighs 61 tons, cruising speed of 660 kilometers per hour. Aircraft can carry more than five tons of detection radar, sonar buoys, depth charges and torpedoes. The Y-8Q designation is a reference to the aircraft being the sixth of the “GaoXin” (High New) special mission aircraft based off the Y-8/9 platform. Other aircraft of the “GaoXin” family include the Y-8W/Y-8GX5 AEW&C aircraft, as well as the Y-9JB/Y-9GX8 ELINT/SIGINT aircraft.
Japan expanding GSDF’s presence on southwestern islands with new bases and missile batteries | The Japan Times
The move, in response to increasing Chinese military activity in the area, includes the deployment of missile systems.
The Japanese Air Force Needs an Upgrade – Foreign Policy
Faced with China’s increasing aggression, Japan must invest in fifth-generation fighter jets to deter Beijing’s expansion.
Trump administration set to back sale of F-16s to Taiwan: report | TheHill
The Trump White House has given its backing to Taiwan’s request to buy more than 60 F-16 fighter jets, in a move that could upset China, 

Foreign Policy Reports

 


 

Andreas Wimmer | Why Nationalism Works And Why It Isn’t Going Away
Distinguishing good, civic nationalism from bad, ethnic nationalism is largely unhelpful, since the two share so many assumptions. The contemporary battle is not to fight nationalism but to promote inclusive versions of it. Nationalism has a bad reputation today. It is, in the minds of many educated Westerners, a dangerous ideology. Some acknowledge the virtues of patriotism, understood as the benign affection for one’s homeland; at the same time, they see nationalism as narrow-minded and immoral, promoting blind loyalty to a country over deeper commitments to justice and humanity. In a January 2019 speech to his country’s diplomatic corps, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier put this view in stark terms: “Nationalism,” he said, “is an ideological poison.” In recent years, populists across the West have sought to invert this moral hierarchy. They have proudly claimed the mantle of nationalism, promising to defend the interests of the majority against immigrant minorities and out-of-touch elites. Their critics, meanwhile, cling to the established distinction between malign nationalism and worthy patriotism. In a thinly veiled shot at U.S. President Donald Trump, a self-described nationalist, French President Emmanuel Macron declared last November that “nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.” The popular distinction between patriotism and nationalism echoes the one made by scholars who contrast “civic” nationalism, according to which all citizens, regardless of their cultural background, count as members of the nation, with “ethnic” nationalism, in which ancestry and language determine national identity. Yet efforts to draw a hard line between good, civic patriotism and bad, ethnic nationalism overlook the common roots of both. Patriotism is a form of nationalism. They are ideological brothers, not distant cousins. At their core, all forms of nationalism share the same two tenets: first, that members of the nation, understood as a group of equal citizens with a shared history and future political destiny, should rule the state, and second, that they should do so in the interests of the nation. Nationalism is thus opposed to foreign rule by members of other nations, as in colonial empires and many dynastic kingdoms, as well as to rulers who disregard the perspectives and needs of the majority.
Christian Reus-Smit | International Relations Theory Doesn’t Understand Culture – Foreign Policy
The main schools of thought still cling to an outdated understanding of how civilizations work. In today’s world politics, culture is everywhere. The rise of non-Western great powers, the return of ethnonationalism, violent extremism justified in the name of religion, and so-called white resistance—the list goes on. Yet those who should be best placed to explain it—international relations scholars—are ill equipped to do so. Conventional wisdom holds that IR theory has little to say about culture. After all, the argument goes, its dominant schools of thought focus on struggles for material power and treat actors as self-interested egoists. In fact, IR scholars talk about culture all the time. It permeates their arguments about the Western foundations of the modern international order, about China as a civilizational state, and about the fate of the Arab Spring. And if discussions of the Western nature of human rights aren’t about culture, then what are they about at all? The real problem is that IR scholars cling stubbornly to a view of culture that anthropologists and sociologists last took seriously between the 1930s and 1950s. Indeed, when discussing culture, IR looks like a conservation zoo for concepts long dead in their natural habitats. The outdated view sees cultures as coherent things: as tightly integrated, neatly bounded, and clearly differentiated. They are causally powerful. Culture makes individuals who they are and defines what they want and how they think. And it is culture that undergirds social institutions. Cultural unity makes strong societies; cultural diversity is corrosive. For evidence of such views, look no further than Brexit, U.S. President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign, Russian irredentism, and Confucian nationalism in China. Such views have long been rejected in specialist fields. Cultures are now seen as heterogeneous and contradictory, highly porous, and deeply entwined and interrelated. In her celebrated 1986 article “Culture in Action,” Ann Swidler, the eminent Berkeley sociologist, put it this way: “all real cultures contain diverse, often conflicting symbols, rituals, stories, and guides to action.” Decades of empirical research sustains such understandings of culture. Anthropologists have demonstrated it at very local levels. Lila Abu-Lughod’s work on Bedouin women is a fine example. And historians have demonstrated it at the level of empires and international orders. Karen Barkey, Jane Burbank, Frederick Cooper, Pamela Kyle Crossley, and many others have revealed the heterogeneous cultural contexts in which such orders evolve. The old, discredited view of culture is still alive in IR. The old, discredited view of culture is still alive in IR. Yet the old, discredited view of culture is still alive in IR. And not just in little pockets. It is IR’s default conception across the discipline’s rival schools.
Maoism marches on: the revolutionary idea that still shapes the world | Books | The Guardian
The west has assumed that Maoism, like Soviet communism, has been left in the dust: no European rebels these days carry a Little Red Book. But the ideology is resurgent in China and remains hugely influential elsewhere
Ten Years after Climategate, the Global Warming Fraud Is on Life Support
The global warming hysteria was reaching a crescendo in the lead up to the climate confab in Copenhagen in 2009 when a civic-minded person released the Climategate emails, deflating the whole thing. Those emails, concocted from the fevered imaginations of the scientists involved. Nigh on 10 years have passed since then and we are currently experiencing another peak in the hysteria that seems to be coordinated worldwide. But why? Why now? The global warming scientists have plenty of time on their hands and plenty of money. Idle curiosity would have got some to have a stab at figuring out what is going to happen to climate. Do they see an imminent cooling and they have to get legislation in place before that is apparent?


EU gives UK short extension on Brexit deal | TheHill
The European Union agreed Thursday to give the United Kingdom a brief extension to make a deal on Brexit.The U.K. was scheduled to leave the union on March 29, but has yet to reach an agreement on an exit deal.
Brexit: EU leaders agree Article 50 delay plan – BBC News
Brexit can be postponed until 22 May if MPs back deal next week, or 12 April if they do not.
Juncker: EU Unlikely to Decide This Week on Brexit Extension
British PM Theresa May wants more time beyond March 29 deadline to figure out how Britain will leave the EU
Delay Brexit till June, May tells Brussels | News | The Times
Theresa May has asked the EU to delay Brexit until the end of June and vowed not to accept any extension to the negotiations beyond that date. In a letter to Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, Mrs May said she was still “confident” that her Brexit deal would be passed by the House o
Brexit: Theresa May to formally ask for delay – BBC News
The PM will write to the EU asking for Brexit to be postponed, amid reports of a cabinet row.
U.K.’s Corbyn Calls for a Public Vote on Brexit – YouTube
Bloomberg Politics Published on Mar 14, 2019 Mar.14 — U.K. opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks in the House of Commons in London after Parliament voted to back Prime Minister Theresa May’s motion to delay Brexit day.
Under pressure, May scrambles to win support for Brexit deal | Reuters
Prime Minister Theresa May’s government was scrambling on Sunday to get support in parliament for her Brexit deal at the third time of asking, aiming to persuade doubters with threats and promises to avoid any move to oust her.
UAWire – Billionaire Abramovich dumps Russian assets in preparation for sanctions
The billionaire Roman Abramovich, who was blacklisted by the US in April last year, had his British visa revoked and was forced to acquire an …


Yellow Vests: Trail of Destruction Along Champs Elysees – Bloomberg
Dozens of shops in one of Paris’s most iconic avenues were damaged Saturday during a protest by the so-called Yellow Vests.
Yellow Vest Protests Prompt France to Ban Some Demonstrations – The New York Times
The government will remove the Paris police chief and ban violent protests in key areas like the Champs-Élysées.
France cleans up Champs-Elysees after yellow vest rioting | Fox News
Paris is cleaning up one of the world’s most glamorous avenues after resurgent rioting by yellow vest protesters stunned the nation.
Protests continue in France as demonstrators clash with police – CNN
Sixty people, including 17 police officers and a fireman, were slightly injured Saturday on the 18th straight day of yellow vest demonstrations in Paris.
‘Yellow vest’ rioting in Paris as anti-Macron protests persist | News | Al Jazeera
Violence in French capital as angry protests converge on famed Champs-Elysees avenue for 18th week straight.
Former EPA advisor tells French President Macron to follow Trump’s lead, ‘shred’ Paris climate agreement | Fox News
A former Environmental Protection Agency advisor is advising French President Emmanuel Macron to “shred” the Paris agreement and turn to President Trump to embolden their economy, this after riots hit Paris hard this weekend.


Cold War On Ice: How Czechoslovakia’s Hockey Team Avenged Soviet Invasion 50 Years Ago
In a bitter sporting clash 50 years ago, Czechoslovakia’s national ice hockey team defeated the U.S.S.R. twice at the 1969 World Ice Hockey Championships, avenging the invasion of their country by Soviet-led troops seven months earlier.
Finland is the happiest country in the world again, launches contest for free trip
Finland was named the happiest country in the world in 2019’s World Happiness Report. America is the 19th happiest country in the world.
Brain trauma suffered by U.S. diplomats in Cuba, China could be work of hostile foreign government – 60 Minutes – CBS News
Since 2016, dozens of American officials have come home from Cuba and China with unexplained brain trauma. Evidence shows it may be the work of another government using a weapon that leaves no trace
A Museum Tackles Myths About Jews and Money – The New York Times
An exhibition at the Jewish Museum in London looks at 2,000 years of negative stereotypes through historical objects and works of art.
Dutch police make new arrest in deadly Utrecht tram shooting | Fox News
Authorities in the Netherlands have arrested another person on suspicion of involvement in a tram shooting which left three people dead and others injured.
Dutch populist wins provincial elections after Utrecht attack | Reuters
An upstart populist party shocked the Dutch political establishment by winning the most votes in provincial elections after a preliminary count in the early hours of Thursday, boosted by a possible terrorist attack this week in the city of Utrecht.
Utrecht shooting: Note found in getaway car suggests terror motive – CNN
A letter found in a getaway car used by the suspect in the Utrecht tram attack suggests the motive behind the shooting may have been terrorism.


Kosovo grapples with bloody past 20 years after NATO’s first war
Kosovo is one of the most pro-American places on Earth thanks to a U.S.-led bombing campaign that began 20 years ago Sunday.
Belgrade Bedfellows: Divergent Aims, Styles Laid Bare As Serbia’s Anti-Vucic Protests Intensify 
Politicians have moved from the background to the forefront in an escalation of protests against the Serbian president.
Serbia’s Vucic Vows To Defend Law And Order After Opposition Storms State TV Building
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has vowed to defend law and order across his country, a day after opposition supporters stormed and briefly occupied the headquarters of state TV in a protest against what they say is his autocratic rule and biased coverage of their demonstrations by state media.
Thousands Protest in Serbia to Demand Free Press and Elections – The New York Times
Riot police used pepper spray on Serbs protesting against President Aleksandar Vucic, who called opposition leaders “fascists, hooligans and thieves.”
Serbia president vows to defend law and order amid protests | Fox News
Serbia’s president has pledged to defend the country’s law and order a day after opposition supporters stormed the national TV station protesting what they say is his autocratic rule.
Former Bosnian Serb Leader Karadzic Loses Appeal On Genocide Conviction : NPR
Judges in The Hague upheld the Bosnian Serb leader’s conviction in connection with the 1995 Srebrenica massacre that claimed the lives of 8,000 Muslim men and boys.


Recep Tayyip Erdogan: The New Zealand killer and the Islamic State are cut from the same cloth – The Washington Post
The terrorists may have different ideologies, but their attitudes are eerily similar. By Recep Tayyip Erdogan March 19 at 5:25 PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan is president of Turkey. Fifty innocent people lost their lives in last week’s terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand. Dozens of other Muslims, who had gathered at local mosques to perform the Friday prayer, survived the assault with injuries. There were many historical references on the murder weapons and in a manifesto that the suspected terrorist published online. The number of times he mentioned both Turkey and myself was both curious and worth deeper consideration. In the wake of the New Zealand attack, Turkish authorities discovered that Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the alleged gunman, had visited Turkey twice in 2016 and spent time in various parts of the country. Moreover, we established that Tarrant traveled to a number of other places — including Morocco, Israel and Croatia. Turkish intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in cooperation with New Zealand and others, continue their efforts to shed light on what happened and to prevent future attacks. The Christchurch massacre’s alleged perpetrator attempted to legitimize his twisted views by distorting world history and the Christian faith. He sought to plant seeds of hate among fellow humans. As a leader who has repeatedly stressed that terrorism has no religion, language or race, I categorically reject any attempt to associate last week’s terrorist attacks with the teachings, morals or maxims of Christianity. If anything, what happened in New Zealand was the toxic product of ignorance and hate.
Turkey’s Erdogan: ‘No Difference’ Between New Zealand Killer, IS Terrorists
In op-ed, Erdogan declares the West has “responsibilities” after the New Zealand mosque massacre
New Zealand Pushes Back Against Erdogan’s Threats in Wake of Massacre – WSJ
New Zealand plans to confront Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after he said last week’s mosque attack was part of a broader plot against his country and threatened to send New Zealanders and Australians home in coffins.
Erdogan airs mosque gunman video ahead visit by NZ minister | Fox News
Turkey’s president has again screened clips of a video taken by the Christchurch mosque gunman, a day before the foreign minister of New Zealand, which is trying to stop its use, is due to visit Turkey.
Australia says tensions with Turkey ease after WWI remarks | New Zealand News | Al Jazeera
Dispute flared over Erdogan’s comments after last Friday’s NZ gun rampage that killed 50 people in two mosques.
Mosque Shooter’s Radical Views Fed by Trips to Christian-Muslim Battlegrounds – WSJ
Investigators say Tarrant’s past paints a picture of a troubled social-media obsessive, fixated on long-ago battles between Christians and Muslims in Europe and eager to impress other right-wing nationalists online.
The Inspiration for Terrorism in New Zealand Came From France – Foreign Policy
The gunman who massacred Muslims was inspired by ideas that have circulated for decades on the French far-right.
Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s stoic leader, has become unwilling face of Christchurch tragedy – CNN
The man who opened fire on two New Zealand mosques last week may have succeeded in killing 50 people, but the country’s leader has promised to deny him the one thing he truly wanted: Notoriety.
New Zealand Mosque Attacks Part Of Ongoing Trauma For U.S. Muslims : NPR
After the New Zealand terrorist attacks, mental health professionals are asking: What does persistent trauma do to a generation of young Muslims growing up in the midst of it all?
New Zealand shooter’s live stream: 8chan helped the captured video reach millions – The Washington Post
New details reveal just how quickly the video spread across the world and rocketed out of tech companies’ control.
New Zealand foreign minister headed to Turkey to ‘confront’ Erdogan’s mosque shooting comments | Reuters
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to Turkey to “confront” comments made by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on the killing of at least 50 people at mosques in Christchurch.
New Zealand terror attack: Australia-Turkey tensions ERUPT as Aussie PM attacks Erdogan | World | News | Express.co.uk
THE Australian Prime Minister today indicated he was considering breaking ties with Turkey following President Erdogan’s threats against Australians after the Christchurch massacre.
Ben Shapiro | How to Silence Debate, New Zealand Edition | RealClearPolitics
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., has unleashed a barrage of openly anti-Semitic commentary. She suggested that Israel had “hypnotized the world.” She recently suggested that Jewish money lay behind American support for Israel. Finally, she suggested that American Israel supporters are representatives of dual loyalty. Her fellow Democrats shielded her from blowback by subsuming a resolution that condemns her anti-Semitism within a broader resolution that condemns intolerance of all types. Many of them suggested that labeling Omar’s anti-Semitism actually represents a type of censorship — an attempt to quash debate about Israel, though none of Omar’s comments even critiqued the Israeli government, and though many on the left have made anti-Israel arguments without invoking anti-Semitism. Now Omar’s defenders have come out of the woodwork to suggest that criticism of her anti-Semitism was somehow responsible for the white supremacist shooting of 50 innocent people in a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. Two protesters, New York University students and best friends Leen Dweik and Rose Asaf, confronted Chelsea Clinton, who had gently chided Omar for her Jew hatred. “After all that you have done, all the Islamophobia that you have stoked,” Dweik screamed, “this, right here, is the result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words you put out in the world. … Forty-nine people died because of the rhetoric you put out there.” Dweik, it should be noted, has called for the complete elimination of Israel.
Why was I asked to condemn Islamist violence days after Christchurch? | Latifa Akay | Opinion | The Guardian
I believe white supremacy fuelled the attack, failing to recognise this lays groundwork for more violence, says charity worker Latifa Akay
Fraser Anning finds himself — literally — with egg on his face – CNN
A far-right Australian lawmaker who blamed the slaughter at two Christchurch mosques on immigration policies that “allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place” literally had egg on his face Saturday.
Neo-Nazis Bet Big on Bitcoin (And Lost) – Foreign Policy
How the far-right’s failed cryptocurrency gamble became a bad joke for the Christchurch killer.
Christchurch footage shows suspect fired at people from car – CNN
Footage obtained from a hotel security camera shows the suspected shooter in Christchuch, New Zealand, fired at people in the street.
New Zealand mosque shootings: Assault rifles to be banned – CNN
All military-style semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles and high-capacity magazines will be banned in New Zealand following the mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques that killed 50 people, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced.
Don’t Censor the New Zealand Shooting Videos – POLITICO Magazine
Averting our gaze from mass murder won’t keep it from happening—and it won’t even stop the murderers from spreading their sick ideas.
Spreading the Mosque Shooting Video Is a Crime in New Zealand – The New York Times
The charges came as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern vowed to investigate the role that social media companies played in mosque massacres last week.
New Zealand broadcasts Islamic call to prayer to honor 50 who died in mosque attack
The Islamic call to prayer, the adhan, rang out all over New Zealand on Friday afternoon as thousands gathered to honor the 50 people gunned down at two mosques in Christchurch last week.
Muslim ex-News Corp. exec says he quit over anti-immigrant rhetoric | TheHill
A former senior Murdoch executive told NPR in an interview released Thursday that he left his job in 2017 over the coverage of Muslims and immigrants by Fox News and other Murdoch networks.

 


 

Capability / Strategy / History Publications

 


 

Implementing Innovation Series: A Perspective from Will Roper, Air Force Acquisition Executive | Center for Strategic and International Studies
The event will be webcast live from this page.
The Change We Need: Making Defense More Future Proof through Adaptable Systems | Center for Strategic and International Studies
Download the Report    
Beating the Air into Submission: Investing in Vertical Lift Modernization | Center for Strategic and International Studies
Download the Brief   The Issue
A DoD AI expert is coming – and that could mean big things for directed energy
Artificial intelligence must be integrated to successfully optimize emerging weaponry, according to undersecretary of research and engineering Michael Griffin.
Introducing Skyborg, your new AI wingman
Future Air Force pilots might be getting their own R2-D2-like companion.
Here’s the Key Innovation in DARPA AI Project: Ethics From the Start – Defense One
A new effort to build patrol drones for urban fights began by forming an ethics advisory board.
Laser Weapons: A Blueprint for Adding Them to the Force – Defense One
Directed energy weapons promise a new advantage — if the U.S. accelerates development of related technologies and doctrine.


America’s Fighter Jet Makers Are Thriving, Thanks to Trump and Putin – Defense One
Orders of American warplanes on the rise as U.S. military spending rises and Russia rattles its sabers.
Lockheed Martin is Waging War on Boeing’s F-15EX – Defense One
The F-35 makers sees the Pentagon’s plans to buy new F-15s for the first time in 19 years as a threat.
Dunford: New F-15 Buy for Air Force Fills F-35 Capacity and Capability Shortfall | Air Force Magazine
DOD’s decision to add new F-15EXs to its budget request for USAF was based on a lack of capability and capacity of the current fleet and the presumptive cheaper cost of the Eagles, the military’s top uniformed officer told lawmakers Thursday. The F-15EX initially would only be “slightly” cheaper to buy than a new F-35, it will be more than 50 percent cheaper than the Joint Strike Fighter to operate over its life. Additionally, it has “twice as many hours” in terms of how long it lasts. The Air Force’s five-year Future Years Defense Plan calls for buying 80 of the F-15EXs, though the ultimate buy could be as many as 144. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said before the budget was released the F-15s were inserted into the budget by entities outside the Air Force, and the service instead preferred to buy more F-35s. “The primary aircraft of the future for the Air Force is the F-35, and they’re not walking back off that program,” Dunford said.
Strategic Planner: F-15EX Could Be Hypersonics Platform | Air Force Magazine
Buying F-15EXs could preserve years of readiness that might otherwise be lost if units transitioned to an all-new airplane, and the fighter could have application to new missions such as a hypersonic missile launch platform, Air Force Director of Strategic Plans and Requirements Maj. Gen. David Krumm told Air Force Magazine Thursday. These factors weighed against the fact that the F-15EX won’t be able to penetrate enemy air defenses, he said. In a sidebar following a speech at an AFA Mitchell Institute event, Krumm said “cost of ownership” is one of the pluses in favor of buying new F-15s. “There’s 80-90 percent commonality” between the F-15C and the F-15EX, Krumm said, adding the new aircraft can use all the aerospace ground equipment now used for the C-model of the Eagle. “That’s all already in the inventory,” he said, but the similarity of aircraft also means “we’re looking at a transition time of months—less than six months”—to transition units now flying the C-model to EX. “Typically, [with] an Active unit, that takes 18 months; with the Guard, it takes three years…If you average that out, Active and Guard, each time we do that we save about two years of readiness,” meaning aircraft available for combat use that would otherwise be sidelined, “And that’s important for us.” He insisted, though, that USAF is “committed to the F-35, and I think we’ve outlined that in the budget.” In Q&A after his speech, Krumm said the F-35 “is a game-changer” and “we won’t take one dime” out of 5th-gen capability, but the F-15C “won’t make it to 2030” due to its age and structural fatigue. He also said the lead time for buying any new fighter is “about two years.” Krumm denied the F-15EX will “take anything away from NGAD,” or Next-Generation Air Dominance, the family of systems that will complement and/or replace the F-22 and F-35. Brand-new F-15EXs will have strong bones and could last a long time—Krumm said 20,000 hours—meaning it could potentially serve well into the 2040s or 50s. The Air Force has said the F-15 won’t be survivable against modern air defenses after 2028, so is it worth it to the service to spend the money to keep a non-stealthy, 1970s design into the 2040s? “I think what we know is that we’re going to be fighting with 4th-gen [aircraft] in 2028, and in 2035, we’re still going to have those,” including the A-10 and F-16, he told Air Force Magazine. “The way to use these things is to collaborate on a network, and it’s going to be, what can those things bring to the fight faster?” The new Eagle could be a launch platform for “standoff weapons, hypersonics … They can go a long ways to assist the penetrating forces,” Krumm noted. Air Force leaders have said they are seeking an early, interim hypersonics capability, and having F-15s that are not speed-limited due to their age could be helpful in that pursuit. The F-15 design is technically capable of exceeding Mach 3, and so could accelerate a hypersonic missile close to its Mach 5-plus operating regime. That in turn would permit smaller booster rockets for the rest of the acceleration to Mach 5 for weapons such as the Tactical Boost Glide hypersonic concept. The F-35, which was not designed to be USAF’s high-end dogfighter, has a top speed of Mach 1.6, and the first generation of hypersonic missiles is unlikely to fit inside its weapons bay. The Pentagon’s fiscal 2020 budget request includes about $1 billion for eight F-15EX “advanced Eagles,” a decision that stemmed from former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
‘Hot crew swaps’: F-35s are the first single engine fighters to fly on repeat
F-35A Lightning IIs are the first single engine fighters capable of performing rapid crew swaps, in which a pilot takes off, flies a mission and lands to refuel while another pilot takes over the cockpit of the same jet.
Elite Eagle: The Air Force Could Arm New F-15X Fighters with Hypersonic Missiles | The National Interest
New Eagles could be launch platforms for “stand-off weapons, hypersonics,” Air Force major general David Krumm, the service’s director of strategic plans and requirements, told Air Force magazine reporters John Tirpak and Brian Everstine.
Why the F-15 Is Still Going Strong After 50 Years
Upgrades have kept the jet relevant well into the 21st century.
Lockheed F-35 dinged as Boeing’s F-15X wins in Air Force’s plan
The U.S. Air Force outlined a five-year plan that showed the extent of the Pentagon’s push to bring back Boeing Co.’s F-15 fighter in an upgraded version, a $7.8 billion investment that would jump from eight of the planes next year to 18 each year through 2024.
The F-35: Such a Complete and Utter Dog | The Wentworth Report
The F-35: Such a Complete and Utter Dog by David Archibald 21 March 2019   Coming to the realization that Mattis was a bad egg as Secretary of Defense took a while, then it became blindingly evident when he supported trannies in the military. So he went, unlamented. Heather Wilson was obviously a bad pick…
French MOD Rebukes Trump Administration for Arms-Sales Focus – Defense One
“NATO’s solidarity clause is called Article 5, not Article F-35,” French armed forces minister Florence Parly said Monday. A senior French defense official offered a sharp rebuke to the United States for what she described as an increasingly transactional approach to allies. “NATO’s solidarity clause is called Article 5, not Article F-35,” French armed forces minister Florence Parly said Monday morning at the Atlantic Council during a brief visit to Washington. “I’m personally more concerned at the notion that the strength of NATO solidarity might be made conditional on allies buying this or that equipment. The alliance should be unconditional, otherwise it’s not an alliance.” Although Parly did not mention President Trump by name, his administration was the clear target of her remarks. Trump has made arms sales a central focus of his foreign policy approach, and his White House has pushed a “Buy American” initiative intended to help boost purchases of U.S. military equipment. The initiative has raised eyebrows in Europe, where some NATO allies have suspected it to be the main point of the Trump administration’s push to get alliance members to meet their 2-percent-of-GDP military spending goal. France, whose own companies compete with the U.S. defense industry, purchases only specialty equipment from the United States, such as Reaper drones.
DoD inspector general slams F-35 program office for allowing Lockheed to manage government property
The F-35 Joint Program Office has no visibility into how contractors are using — or misusing — government property, the IG found.
U.S. Navy awards contract to Boeing for 78 F/A-18 Block III Super Hornets – Defence Blog
U.S. aerospace manufacturer Boeing Co said on Wednesday it is awarded a three-year contract for 78 F/A-18 Block III Super Hornets. The Block III configuration adds capability upgrades that include enhanced network capability, longer range, reduced radar signature, an advanced cockpit system and an enhanced communication system. Boeing will begin converting existing Block II Super Hornets to Block III early in the next decade. The fighter’s life also will be extended from 6,000 hours to 10,000 hours. This new multi-year contract benefits the U.S. Navy and Boeing by allowing both to schedule future production and Navy officials estimate this multi-year model saves a minimum of $395 million on this contract valued at approximately $4 billion. “This multiyear contract will provide significant savings for taxpayers and the U.S. Navy while providing the capacity it needs to help improve readiness,” said Dan Gillian, vice president of F/A-18 and EA-18G programs. “A multiyear contract helps the F/A-18 team seek out suppliers with a guaranteed three years of production, instead of negotiating year to year. It helps both sides with planning, and we applaud the U.S. Navy on taking the appropriate steps needed to help solve its readiness challenges.” The F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet is the newest highly capable, affordable and available tactical aircraft in U.S. Navy inventory. The Super Hornet is the backbone of the U.S. Navy carrier air wing now and for decades to come.
The Raptor Isn’t ‘Ready’: America’s F-22 Stealth Fighters Have a Problem | The National Interest
Since becoming operational in 2005, the F-22 has achieved roughly a 50-percent readiness rate, on average — one of the lowest rates of all U.S. fighter types. The Raptor’s complex systems and delicate, radar-absorbing coating require intensive maintenance.
What aircraft does the US Air Force need to beat China and Russia? This new study has an answer.
The future looks stealthy and unmanned.
The Eagle Wins: How An ‘Old’ F-15C Could Beat Russia’s Su-57 in a Dogfight
Battle for the sky.
UK Government launches opportunity for industry to be involved in the development of next-gen combat aircraft – Defence Blog
Britain’s biggest defense company BAE Systems has announced on 19 March that UK Government launches opportunity for the industry to collaborate on the development of next-generation air power. The aerospace giant announced Tuesday companies from across the UK defence industry have come together in the first opportunity for suppliers to engage with the Government and Team Tempest partners over the future of Combat Air System development in the UK. The event in Farnborough was launched by Minister for Defence Procurement, Stuart Andrew MP, and saw 300 delegates including SMEs and technology-led organisations attending to build connections and take part in a series of briefings outlining the capabilities and skills needed to shape the future of Combat Air System delivery in the UK. The Tempest programme aims to harness and develop UK capabilities that are critical for Next Generation (NextGen) Combat Air capability and to retain the UK’s position as a globally competitive leader through understanding of future concepts, technologies and capabilities. It is a fundamental pillar of the Combat Air Strategy announced last year, providing a catalyst for STEM generation by opening opportunities for industry collaboration on a new level. Novel partnerships will be formed where there is opportunity to contribute capability, technology or intellectual property to the development of NextGen military air capability in the UK.


The Pentagon Wants to Test a Space-Based ‘Particle Beam’ by 2023
The exotic directed energy weapon would be used to shoot down enemy missiles moments after takeoff.
A Meteor Hit Earth With the Force of a Nuclear Bomb and We Hardly Even Noticed
The Kamchatka meteor’s impact last year was remote and sudden, showing the limits of detecting objects from space.
Spaceports of the World – Aerospace Security


Britain to buy Wedgetail aircraft in nearly $2 billion deal
All five aircraft, based on the Boeing 737 NG airliner, will be modified to the E-7 AEW standard by local British company Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group based in Cambridge, eastern England.
German Air Force jumping on passive radar
News of the early stages of an acquisition program comes months after the German military tested the potentially revolutionary technology to track planes over Bavaria. COLOGNE, Germany — The German Air Force has created a formal acquisition track for passive sensing technology, joining a global military equipment trend that could reshuffle the cat-and-mouse game of radar versus stealthy aircraft. A defense acquisition spokesman told Defense News that the service is working on an “FFF” analysis for passive sensor systems, a technical acronym from deep inside the military-acquisition bureaucracy. Short for “Fähigkeitslücke und Funktionale Forderung,” the process serves to describe a capability gap, derive requirements and eventually tee up an actual investment program. Information about the acquisition status came in a response by the Defence Ministry to Defense News about an event in November that showed the military’s keen interest in passive radar. The Luftwaffe and the ministry’s defense-acquisition organization had staged a weeklong “measuring campaign” in southern Germany aimed at visualizing the entire region’s air traffic through TwInvis, a passive radar system made by Hensoldt. Queries about the results of the demonstration were left unanswered.
U.S. Air Force to upgrade B-1B Lancer strike bombers – Defence Blog
According to a statement released by the U.S. Air Force, the B-1B Lancer strike bombers will get a new advanced targeting system to increase capabilities in meeting the challenges of Non-Traditional Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (NTISR) in addition to bringing increased precision for strike missions. A statement from the U.S. Air Forces claims that for the first time since 2000, the B-1B is involved in testing at Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee. Tests are currently ongoing to determine the effects a newly-introduced targeting pod for the B-1B would have on stores released from the aircraft. The tests, which began earlier this year, were requested by an AEDC testing partner, the Air Force SEEK EAGLE Office, based out of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. A new targeting pod design has been introduced for the aircraft, and officials in the SEEK EAGLE Office will examine the effects of the new pod on the B-1B Lancer. Tests will be conducted on five different store models at Arnold to determine whether the full-size munitions will cleanly release from the actual bomber during flight. “AFSEO and AEDC engineers are running numerous tests in the wind tunnel to collect data that will allow them to analyze the forces, moments and aerodynamic effects on the store and be able to determine if the trajectories from the aircraft are safe and effective for flight,” said 1st Lt. Johnathan Gutierrez, test manager in the Flight Systems Combined Test Force. “One end goal is to make sure that once a store leaves the aircraft, it moves away from the aircraft and not back towards it in aerodynamic flight.” The targeting pod currently used on the B-1B Lancer has been in place for about 10 years. Gutierrez said the new pod configuration will enhance the avionics of the weapons system, bolstering the aircrew’s ability to locate a target. “Because the pod has a different shape than the original one, the engineers need to study the aerodynamic effects of that on the aircraft and the weapons as they release from the aircraft, because if they encounter turbulence or other disturbances across those weapons bays, then it is likely to cause the store to behave in a way that’s unfavorable for the aircrew,” Gutierrez said. The Captive Trajectory System, or CTS, in the 16-foot transonic wind tunnel, also known as 16T, is used to position the store models at any of the weapons bays of the B-1B Lancer. One of the testing methods involves using the CTS to place a store close to a weapons bay and simulating the release of the munition. Depending on the aerodynamic effects the store sensors are reading, the store will drive itself away from the aircraft model as it is in actual free flight. The test system will run continuous calculations to determine where the store should be going as the store continues to drive itself. This test studies the behavior of the store as it leaves the aircraft. Engineers input specific commands for the store before testing is done. Further testing to examine stores at specific trajectories away from the aircraft are completed later. “We can take that store and roll it negative 90 degrees to positive 90 degrees. We can pitch it up or down. We can yaw it side-to-side,” Gutierrez said. “It just depends on what our customer wants to see based upon how they think the store will behave as it leaves the aircraft, and then they can examine data to come closer to that.” Gutierrez reiterated that the testing now being conducted is vital in ensuring the safety of the B-1B aircrew. “If we put something out there that’s untested, then there is a significantly higher risk to the aircrew,” he said. “But the AEDC and AFSEO team is going to crunch the numbers and do the engineering work to find out if that’s safe for flight.” The B-1B Lancer has served the Air Force since the mid-1980s, and Gutierrez said the aircraft is still used regularly. Prior to the recent efforts, the last test at Arnold involving the B-1B – also a store separation test – occurred in 2000. The aircraft is capable of carrying many payloads, so individual tests can last anywhere from a few days to multiple months. The ongoing testing is expected to continue through mid-Spring.
WATCH: Sikorsky-Boeing Defiant helo takes first flight
The Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant flew for the first time today.
Prototype of SB-1 Defiant modern coaxial helicopter conducts first flight – Defence Blog
Sikorsky-Boeing team conducted the first flight of a prototype of the new SB-1 Defiant modern coaxial helicopter at a West Palm Beach, Florida, facility in the early morning on March 21. According to aerospace giants, this revolutionary aircraft, developed by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, and Boeing, will help inform the next generation of military helicopters as part of the U.S. Army’s Future Vertical Lift program. “DEFIANT is designed to fly at nearly twice the speed and has twice the range of conventional helicopters while retaining the very best, if not better low-speed and hover performance of conventional helicopters,” saidDan Spoor, vice president, Sikorsky Future Vertical Lift. “This design provides for exceptional performance in the objective area, where potential enemy activity places a premium on maneuverability, survivability and flexibility. We are thrilled with the results of today’s flight and look forward to an exciting flight test program.” With its two coaxial main rotors and rear-mounted pusher propulsor, DEFIANT is unlike production rotorcraft available today. It represents a leap forward in technology to achieve the U.S. government’s desire for vast increases in speed and range, while improving maneuverability and survivability in a cost-effective way. DEFIANT aircraft’s use of X2™ Technology will allow the Army to penetrate from strategic standoff and exploit gaps created in complex Anti-Access Area Denial systems against near-peer adversaries. “The design and development of DEFIANT has revealed the capability advancement that is truly possible for Future Vertical Lift,” saidDavid Koopersmith, vice president and general manager, Boeing Vertical Lift. “Clearly, the performance, speed, and agility of DEFIANT will be a game changer on the battlefield and we look forward to demonstrating for the U.S. Army the tremendous capabilities of this aircraft.” The helicopter is participating in the Army’s Joint Multi-Role-Medium Technology Demonstrator program. Data from DEFIANT will help the Army develop requirements for new utility helicopters expected to enter service in the early 2030s. This flight marks a key milestone for the Sikorsky-Boeing team, and is the culmination of significant design, simulation and test activity to further demonstrate the capability of the X2 Technology. X2 Technology is scalable to a variety of military missions such as attack and assault, long-range transportation, infiltration and resupply. DEFIANT is the third X2®aircraft in less than 10 years.
Bell, Rolls-Royce sign agreement to research engine designs for V-280 and V-247 platforms – Defence Blog
British engine maker Rolls-Royce and Bell Helicopter, part of American conglomerate Textron, sign teaming agreement to research engine designs to improve safety, performance and affordability for future aircraft. Bell Helicopter announced a teaming agreement with Rolls-Royce for the development of an optimized propulsion system and continued risk reduction efforts aimed at the V-280 Valor and V-247 advanced vertical lift platforms. The collaboration will focus on the integration of Rolls-Royce’s proven low-risk and advanced propulsion systems into future Bell aircraft. “The goal of this collaboration is to further enhance the performance and affordability of our aircraft. Future Vertical Lift programs bring revolutionary solutions for warfighters; Bell and Rolls-Royce are focused on delivering those capabilities,” said Keith Flail, vice president of Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell. This agreement extends Bell’s support for the U.S. military’s aviation modernization and acquisition priorities. Building industry relationships delivers options to rapidly mature technology and provide capability to the warfighter. The result will be more options to create aircraft with revolutionary capabilities for vertical lift programs. “Bell is at the forefront of creating highly capable and sustainable aircraft that vastly outperform legacy platforms, and Rolls-Royce is a world leader in advanced engines and propulsion systems. We are excited to enhance our long-standing relationship with Bell and help deliver on customer requirements through innovative solutions and proven technologies,” said Jason Propes, senior vice-president, Defense Customer Relations at Rolls-Royce. As part of this teaming agreement, Bell will lead the design, development and production of advanced vertical lift systems, and Rolls-Royce will provide its technical expertise in propulsion systems to provide potential customers with tested, high-performance solutions. This collaboration extends a successful relationship between Bell and Rolls-Royce that has existed for more than 50 years.
New York Air National Guard receives first HC-130J Combat King II – Defence Blog
The New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing (RQW) has received the first of its recently ordered HC-130J Combat King II aircraft. Pentagon’s No.1 weapons supplier Lockheed Martin Corp has announced on 21 March delivered the first of four HC-130J Combat King II aircraft to representatives from the New York Air National Guard’s 106th RQW. This HC-130J will be operated by the 102nd Rescue Squadron (RQS) at Francis S. Grabreski Air National Guard Base, New York. The 102nd RQS, which is part of the 106th Rescue Wing (RQW), currently operates a legacy fleet of HC-130P/N variant Combat King I aircraft, which will be replaced by four new HC-130Js. The squadron will use its HC-130Js to refuel the New York Air National Guard’s 101st RQS HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, which were manufactured by Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky business in Stratford, Connecticut. Like others in the U.S. Air Force Rescue community, the 106th RQW lives by the motto, “That Others May Live,” which reflects its mission of supporting combat search and rescue anywhere in the world. Crews from the 106th RQW rely on HC-130s to extend the range of combat search and rescue helicopters by providing air refueling in hostile or contested airspace. Other mission capabilities include performing tactical delivery of pararescue teams, small bundles, zodiac watercraft or four-wheel drive all-terrain vehicles; and providing direct assistance to survivors in advance of a recovery vehicle. “The HC-130 Hercules aircraft has been an essential part of the 106th’s Rescue Wing’s fleet for many decades, supporting these brave Airmen in meeting their mission requirements time and time again,” said Ray Burick, vice president of Domestic Programs for Lockheed Martin’s Air Mobility & Maritime Missions line of business. “The Lockheed Martin team is proud to provide the N.Y. Air National Guard with new HC-130Js that deliver increased power, capability and performance to support their crews in doing what they do best: saving lives and protecting the people they serve.”
Whidbey Island to get 36 more Growlers
The Navy expects the additional jets and personnel to gradually arrive at NAS Whidbey Island between now and 2022.
US Army Contradictions Muddy Humvee-Replacement Plan – Defense One
The service intends to buy 500 fewer JLTVs next year — but will it still buy the total planned 49,000?
Is Germany’s Puma combat vehicle still tickling the US Army’s interest?
A demonstration for the Americans was scheduled in Germany this week, but the event ended up getting canceled.
Spain cleared to buy American assault amphibious vehicles
Spain already operates 19 of the systems, made by BAE Systems.
US, India collaborating on air-launched drone
The program aims to develop small UAVs that can be launched from a C-17 or C130J.
What a drone in a box learned from the Army
In an exercise at Quantico, Homeland Security and Army officials explored the possibilities of remote stations that each house a single drone.
Is it a drone? Or is it a rifle?
The VTOL interceptor is built to launch anywhere and shoot down hostile drones.
More fire power: US Army sets out to develop new missiles in FY20
The Army is investing several billion dollars to get new missile programs off the ground.
USA begin mass-producing latest variant of Abrams tanks – Defence Blog
The latest variant of Abrams tanks, called M1A2C, is now being mass produced at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima. The Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, or JSMC, is the only facility that produces the family of M1 Abrams tank and now begins mass-producing of latest M1A2C also know as M1A2 SEPv3. This version rectifies many of space, weight and power issues identified during Operation Iraqi Freedom and will be the foundational variant for all future incremental upgrades. In addition to having improved survivability, the Abrams M1A2C can host any mature technology the Army deems operationally relevant. Improvements focus on increasing the electrical power margin, Vehicle Health Management Systems, integrated counter-improvised explosive device protection, a new Auxiliary Power Unit, embedded training and an ammunition data link. The 70-ton Abrams M1A2C is the most reliable Abrams tank ever produced, will decrease the Army’s logistic burden, and leads the Army in enterprise-level connectivity to maintenance and supply systems. The M1A2C will be equipped Trophy APS that eliminates enemy threats, such as rocket propelled grenades and anti-tank guided missiles. The MBT measures 9.7m-long, 3.7m-wide and 2.4m-high, and is manned by a crew of four, including a driver, a commander, a loader and a gunner. According to several media reports, the U.S. Army has signed a $714 million delivery order to upgrade an additional 174 M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks to the state-of-the-art M1A2 System Enhancement Package Version 3 (SEPv3) configuration or M1A2C. The Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima will employ 935 individuals to produce 34 tanks each month.
U.S. Army discloses details of advanced coating system for ground combat vehicles – Defence Blog
The U.S. Army has given further details on the capabilities of its new advanced coating system for ground combat vehicles. While Soldiers wear camouflage to blend into the environment, it is also important to ensure ground vehicles are not easily detected. The Army now has a new advanced coating system for ground vehicles that suppresses ground vehicle heat signatures, making the vehicles much more difficult to detect. The Ground Vehicle Coating System was developed by a joint venture between the Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center, the Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory and the Army’s Manufacturing Technology program to reduce detectable infrared signatures that are emitted from vehicles, making them much more difficult to detect and track. This new coating also mitigates the effects of chemical agents that adversaries may use to injure, incapacitate or kill Soldiers. “This technology is significant because it embraces the spirit and direction of the Army Futures Command to develop, create and implement technologies that ensure dominance on the battlefield. The technology will be the foundation of a variety of alternatives that will meet and overcome emerging threats to Army platforms,” said Thomas Wagner, CCDC Ground Vehicle Systems Center engineer. The Army’s Manufacturing Technology program, known as ManTech, provided the necessary funding to work with industry to develop, refine, test and validate a process for manufacturing Chemical Agent Resistant Coating-compatible paint products that aid in vehicle detectability avoidance. In addition to reducing the cost of the coating per gallon by approximately 75 percent from when the program originally started, the coating can be applied to vehicles in existing facilities, including depots and arsenals, using equipment already in the Army’s inventory. This will decrease application costs and increase production output.
Russia Unveils Plans For Sleek High-Speed Arctic Rescue Chopper With Jet Thruster In Its Tail – The Drive
The research and development work could support the Kremlin’s broader requirements for new fast-flying rotorcraft in the far north and beyond.
What if satellite communication was as simple as roaming cell service
Kratos RT Logic recently demonstrated a solution that would allow soldier to roam among multiple satellites and systems in much the same way the cellphones roam when they are deprived of a signal.
New “Peregrine” electronic warfare aircraft for Air Force | Department of Defence Ministers
Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP and Minister for Defence Industry, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, today announced the acquisition of four modified Gulfstream G550 aircraft – to be designated the MC-55A “Peregrine” – for the Royal Australian Air Force. Minister Pyne said the $2.46 billion acquisition would enable Defence to actively strengthen electronic warfare support to naval, air and land forces for operations in complex electromagnetic environments. “The Peregrine is a new airborne electronic warfare capability that will be integrated into Defence’s joint warfighting networks, providing a critical link between platforms, including the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, E-7A Wedgetail, EA-18G Growler, Navy’s surface combatants and amphibious assault ships and ground assets to support the warfighter,” Minister Pyne said. “The aircraft will be based at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia – yet another piece in a broader Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance precinct being developed at the Super Base, which is already home to our Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. RAAF Base Edinburgh will also serve as the headquarters for our unmanned Tritons and armed unmanned Reaper variant.” “This capability and the people who operate it will bring Air Force a step closer to becoming a fully networked fifth-generation force and further exploit the joint combat multiplier effects on exercises and operations,” Minister Pyne said. Minister Reynolds said the Liberal National Government remains committed to opening up new opportunities for Australian small and medium enterprises in the defence industry. “About $425 million will be spent with Australian companies during the acquisition phase of the project, including $257 million to be invested in new facilities at RAAF Base Edinburgh,” Minister Reynolds said. “There will be further significant opportunities for Australian industry, estimated to be over $2 billion, in the sustainment of the aircraft over the 25 years life-of-type.”
​Australia to obtain four G550s equipped for EW mission
Canberra will obtain four modified Gulfstream G550 business jets that will be modified for the electronic warfare (EW) mission in the USA. The aircraft will be designated the MC-55A Peregrine, says a joint statement from Australia’s defence minister and the country’s minister for defence industry. The deal is worth A$2.46 billion ($1.7 billion). “The Peregrine is a new airborne electronic warfare capability that will be integrated into Defence’s joint warfighting networks, providing a critical link between platforms, including the [Lockheed Martin] F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, [Boeing] E-7A Wedgetail, EA-18G Growler, Navy’s surface combatants and amphibious assault ships and ground assets to support the warfighter,” says defence minister Christopher Pyne. The aircraft will be based at RAAF Edinburgh in South Australia alongside the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) P-8A Poseidons, and its incoming fleet of Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton UAVs. In addition, the RAAF’s future contingent of MQ-9 Reapers will operate from the base. In June 2017, the US State Department cleared a potential Australian acquisition for up to five G550’s equipped for the ISR missions. At that time, the deal was for five aircraft at a cost of $1.3 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) named L3 Technologies as the prime contractor for the Foreign Military Sales deal. Airframe modifications were listed to accommodate mission systems and secure communications equipment. The work will be conducted at L3’s Greenville site in Texas. A self-protection suite will also be installed, with other programme elements to include ground-based data processing systems, plus spare parts and crew training services. At the time of the DSCA announcement, Australia’s acquisition was believed to include a lead pair of G550s that had already been ordered for conversion by L3 in an electronic and signals intelligence-gathering configuration. In a 2017 interview with FlightGlobal, Air Marshal Leo Davies, chief of the RAAF, had this to say about the G550 acquisition: “In the 2016 defence White Paper, we found there was an electronic warfare co-ordination role that was not being filled. The G550 will serve as the conductor of the orchestra.” “Our air warfare centre is looking at a maritime environment, in which case the Growler will support vessels like the future frigate and the air warfare destroyer, providing the navy with an electronic option at distance. The bit we want to understand regarding [the] G550, Wedgetail and Growler is what part of that EW mission do we apportion to each. We don’t want to have a Wedgetail that should be doing airborne control in a congested environment, also having to send packets of ones and zeros to the F-35 or the air warfare destroyer. This becomes the role of the G550.”
It’s Official, the USAF’s Next Jamming Plane Will Be a Gulfstream BizJet – The Drive
The US military is finding this type of aircraft increasingly attractive for various specialized missions.


Crazy Russians – You Ask Why Russian Jet Pilots Are Crazy? This Video Shows You Why! – YouTube
Book Review: ‘The Night Witches,’ By Garth Ennis And Russ Braun : NPR
Garth Ennis’ new graphic novel creates a fictional character to flesh out the stories of the real Night Witches, Soviet female pilots who dropped bombs on the Nazis from rickety old biplanes.


FBI joins criminal probe into Boeing 737 Max 8
The FBI has joined the widening criminal probe into how Boeing’s 737 Max 8 jets were deemed as safe in the months before two of them crashed in Indonesia and Ethiopia,
Report: Justice Department Issues ‘Multiple Subpoenas’ in Boeing 737 Max Criminal Probe
The FBI and DOJ are reportedly looking into how the plane was certified and what data Boeing gave to the FAA.
Justice Department issues subpoenas in criminal investigation of Boeing – CNN
US Justice Department prosecutors have issued multiple subpoenas as part of an investigation into Boeing’s Federal Aviation Administration certification and marketing of 737 Max planes, sources briefed on the matter told CNN.
Boeing to make standard an $80,000 warning light that was not on doomed planes – CBS News
Boeing said Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for new safety updates to its software on its 737 Max jets could come as early as next week. After the crash of two Max jets that killed 346 people, the company announced it would now make standard an indicator light that warns pilots of a sensor malfunction that could cause its anti-stall system to activate unnecessarily. Investigators believe that anti-stall system, new on the 737 Max, triggered on Lion Air Flight 610, repeatedly forcing down the nose of the plane and leading to the crash. The previously optional indicator light, a safety feature, was not installed on the Max 8 Lion Air plane or the Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed last week. A U.S. airline source said that feature would cost roughly $80,000 extra on a plane with a list price of about $120 million. On Friday, Boeing issued a new statement, saying: “All Boeing airplanes are certified and delivered to the highest levels of safety consistent with industry standards. Airplanes are delivered with a baseline configuration, which includes a standard set of flight deck displays and alerts, crew procedures and training materials that meet industry safety norms and most customer requirements. Customers may choose additional options, such as alerts and indications, to customize their airplanes to support their individual operations or requirements.”
Doomed Jets Lacked 2 Safety Features That Boeing Sold as Extras – The New York Times
Airlines had to pay more for two optional upgrades that could warn pilots about sensor malfunctions. The company will now make one of the features standard.
Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashes: Are foreign pilots trained for emergencies?
Two Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashes in less than five months have prompted questions from aviation experts about the training of pilots for foreign airlines.
Pilots transitioned to 737 Max 8 with self-administered online course – CNN
Pilots transitioning to the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft from older 737 models were given a short, self-administered online course that made no mention of a new system now at the center of two crash investigations, pilots’ unions spokesmen for two American carriers told CNN.
Ethiopian Airlines pilot of doomed flight didn’t take training on 737 MAX simulator: report | Fox News
The captain of the doomed Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 never received updated training on a Boeing 737 Max 8 simulator, even though the airline had the technology available since January, according to a report.
Boeing 737 MAX-8 Scandal Grows: Doomed Lion Air Flight Should Never Have Flown
New reports say the jet was saved by a third pilot. The next crew wasn’t so lucky. Yet nobody thought it would happen again. It did—twice.
Boeing 737 Max: Garuda is canceling its $4.9 billion order for the planes – CNN
Indonesian airline Garuda said Friday that it’s canceling a multibillion-dollar order for Boeing’s 737 Max 8 passenger jet after the plane was involved in two deadly crashes in less than five months.
Indonesia’s Garuda canceling its order for 49 Boeing 737 Max jets
Boeing 737 Max planes have been grounded by authorities after two recent fatal crashes.
Mystery Pilot on Lion Air Flight Interviewed by Indonesia – Bloomberg
Indonesia’s aviation safety regulator confirmed an off-duty pilot was aboard a Boeing Co. 737 Max 8 a day before the aircraft crashed, after people familiar with the matter said that a third person was in the cockpit and helped the crew disable a malfunctioning flight-control system.
Boeing loses $4.9B order for 737 Max jets, but Indonesia’s Garuda carrier open to buying different model | Fox News
Indonesian airline Garuda has canceled its order for 49 more Boeing 737 Max 8 jets, worth nearly $5 billion, citing “consumers’ low confidence,” a spokesman for the company said Friday. But a Garuda official said the airline may be open to acquiring another Boeing model instead to salvage the deal.
Boeing’s 737 Max could hit US GDP if production is halted: JP Morgan
A production halt of Boeing’s 737 Max jets could be felt well beyond the aerospace giant’s quarterly profits, according to J.P. Morgan.
Analyst: Buy Boeing Because It’s “Too Big to Fail” — The Motley Fool
Love it or hate it, a market that’s starved for airplanes needs Boeing to survive.

 


 

IW/EW/IO/Cyber/Social Media Reports

 


 

US prepared to strike back against cyberattacks amid report of naval systems breaches
Cyberattacks from Russia, China, North Korea and Iran are increasingly sophisticated and, until recently, were done with little concern for the consequences, the top Pentagon cyber leaders told a congressional committee on Wednesday.
Cyber Threats Are Emerging Faster Than DHS Can Identify and Confront Them – Defense One
Secretary Nielsen: “The discipline of understanding what is emerging is where I find we are lacking.\”


Facebook’s chilling revelations reveal users can’t police the social network – AOL Finance
Facebook revealed Tuesday that roughly 200 people watched a gunman’s live video of a New Zealand mosque attack last week but failed to report it.
Google expected to announce Yeti gaming console, streaming service
Google is expected to unveil its big game streaming service, but experts are skeptical it will have what it takes
European Commission fines Google EUR 1.49 bln for abusive practices in online advertising – news economics | UNIAN
The European Commission has fined Google EUR 1.49 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules. The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate – and consumers the benefits of competition, according to the report.
Christchurch attack: Why ISIS is easier for big tech to fight than white supremacy – CNN
Social media networks are facing a reckoning for their role in spreading far-right terrorist propaganda, after a deadly attack on a New Zealand mosque was live-streamed on Facebook.
In Russia, calendars with operators and cats are a thing (PHOTOS)
The Rosgvardia, Russia’s National Guard, really likes exotic weapons systems and feline companionship, every month of the year. Their 2020 calendar, posted this week by Army Inside, an English language page that covers the Russian military, includes lots of guys in Ataka-pattern camo hanging with furry little kitties. Hardware includes various modern Kalash models, VSS Vintorez suppressed carbines, a PKM machine gun and an SV-98 sniper rifle.
Facebook and Instagram are Down For Some Users | Fortune
Both Facebook and Instagram are either down or have limited functionality for users.
Facebook’s Catastrophic Blackout Could Cost $90 Million in Lost Revenue
Facebook’s “worst ever” downtime of 14 hours could cost the company up to $90 million in lost revenue based on 2018 earnings figures.


Here’s how other nations measure up in electronic warfare
Other nations are seeking to deny U.S. forces the ability to communicate.

US Domestic Policy Reports

 


 

Trump Picks New Top NATO Commander – Defense One
Top US Air Force general in Europe will lead alliance as Trump officials continue to berate members for more money.
In testimony, Shanahan underlines it’s ‘China, China, China’
The National Defense Strategy remains the Pentagon’s focus under acting Defense Secretary Shanahan.
New military budget is focused on China: “We’ve been ignoring the problem for too long” – CBS News
To a remarkable degree, the budget proposal is shaped by threats acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has summarized in three words: &quot;China, China, China.&quot;
New U.S. military budget heavily focused on China despite lawmakers’ border wall talk – Los Angeles Times
To a remarkable degree, the 2020 Pentagon budget proposal is shaped by national security threats that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has summarized in three words: “China, China, China.”
Trump’s Pentagon chief under Boeing-related ethics probe – Vox
Trump’s Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan under ethics investigation for allegedly boosting Boeing while in the Pentagon.
Trump’s acting defense secretary under ethics probe over Boeing ties – CNNPolitics
An investigation has been launched to determine whether acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan violated ethics rules by promoting products made by his former employer, Boeing, while serving in his current role at the Pentagon, the Defense Department’s inspector general announced Wednesday.
Air Force One: New Estimate Bumps Total Cost By Nearly One-Third – Defense One
The $5.3 billion price tag is the Pentagon’s first public accounting to include the new hangars and various other costs.
The USAF Shouldn’t Narrow Competition for Its Satellite Launches – Defense One
The service’s plan to reduce launch-contract eligibility from three providers to two would reduce incentives to innovate and keep costs down.
Dunford to meet with Google for ‘debate’ on Chinese ties
The Pentagon’s top uniformed officer thinks tech companies need to be smarter with how they approach China.
‘This is Not About Me and Google,’ Says Dunford, Who Will Meet Execs Next Week – Defense One
Artificial intelligence businesses in China help an authoritarian government and erode America’s military advantage, the Joint Chiefs chairman said.
Google responds after Trump, Joint Chiefs chairman accuse tech giant of aiding Chinese military | Fox News
Google responded Saturday to accusations by President Trump and military officials that its work in China it benefits the Chinese military, saying it was instead working in cybersecurity, recruiting and healthcare.
Cyber Spending Would Rise $17B Under 2020 Request – Defense One
More than half would go to the Defense Department to bolster defenses and expand offensive capabilities.
Trump taps Michael Kratsios to be administration’s first chief technology officer | TheHill
President Trump announced Thursday that he would nominate Michael Kratsios to serve as the country’s chief technology officer, a role that has remained vacant since the beginning of the Trump administration.
Donald Trump to Name Michael Kratsios as White House CTO – Bloomberg
Michael Kratsios, now deputy CTO, sees himself translating the president’s views into a tech agenda.


Trump Calls For Public Release Of Mueller Russia Investigation Report
Trump’s comments come amid speculation that Mueller’s nearing the end of his investigation into interactions between Trump associates and Russian officials.
Documents shed light on Russian hacking of Democratic Party leaders – The Washington Post
The papers from a lawsuit against BuzzFeed include a forensic analysis by a former top official in the FBI’s cyber crime division.
Unsealed documents shed new light on efforts to verify Trump-Russia dossier – CNNPolitics
Documents unsealed this week lend credence to a theory about Russian election meddling that was first put forward in the Trump-Russia dossier, however they do not corroborate the more explosive claims that the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin in the 2016 campaign.
Christopher Steele admitted using posts by ‘random individuals’ on CNN website to back up Trump dossier
Former British spy Christopher Steele admitted that he relied on an unverified report on a CNN website for part of the “Trump dossier,” which was used as a basis for the FBI’s investigation into Trump.
Court files reveal role of McCain, associate in spreading anti-Trump dossier | Fox News
Newly unsealed court filings show how the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and an associate shared with the FBI and a host of media outlets the unverified dossier that alleged the Russians had compromising information on now-President Trump. 
Exclusive: Washington Autopsy Files Offer New Details In Death Of Mikhail Lesin
Since Mikhail Lesin’s body was found in a Washington, D.C., hotel room more than three years ago, the exact circumstances surrounding his death, and the final days leading up to it, have been und…
Report: Ex-Putin adviser who died in US had broken neck | WTOP
Newly released documents show that a former adviser to Russia’s president sustained a complete fracture of his neck “at or near the time of his death” in a Washington hotel room in 2015.
Russia’s Deripaska Files Suit Against U.S. Sanctions, Claims Loss Of $7.5 Billion
Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska has filed a lawsuit in a Washington court against the U.S. Treasury Department, alleging the sanctions against him are illegal and claiming they have cost him $7.5 b…
Paul Manafort Worked for Ukraine, Not Russia | National Review
Manafort served not a Putin agenda. It was an agenda for Ukraine, a country with a split, East–West personality.
Trump: UK government condemns president’s ‘completely false’ suggestion Britain invented Russia’s 2016 election meddling | The Independent
Donald Trump’s suggestion that Britain invented Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election has been branded “completely false” by the UK government.  The US president shared a tweet by William Craddick, the founder of right-wing conspiracy theory news outlet Disobedience Media, on Sunday evening. 
Lobbying Case Against Democrat With Ties to Manafort Reaches Key Stage – The New York Times
The investigation of Gregory B. Craig, who served as White House counsel in the Obama administration, comes amid a growing crackdown by the Justice Department on illegal foreign lobbying.
DOJ may charge Obama White House lawyer for failing to disclose foreign lobbying work
The Justice Department is considering whether to charge a prominent Democrat, who served as White House counsel during President Barack Obama’s first year in office, for failing to disclose work he did on behalf of Ukraine.
Deripaska: US-Russia ties cannot improve amid economic sanctions
Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska said on Sunday that Moscow and Washington are more interested in “muscle-flexing” than improving their relationship.
Putin ally Deripaska explains why he’s suing US Treasury Department
Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska said on Sunday he would fight the U.S. government in court for “weaponizing the financial system” against him.
Records show FBI was investigating Michael Cohen long before raid – Los Angeles Times
The search warrant, while heavily redacted, offered new details about the federal inquiry of Michael Cohen’s business dealings and the FBI raids of his Manhattan home and office.


The meeting was supposed to ease tensions between Muslim and Jewish Democrats. It ended with tears. – The Washington Post
‘If we can’t be on the same page, it’s hard for the country to,’ said freshman Rep. Dean Phillips after private meetings involving about a dozen lawmakers. 
These Muslim and Jewish community leaders are united in frustration at Ilhan Omar’s comments – CNNPolitics
In Ilhan Omar’s home district in Minnesota, her words are bringing some Jewish and Muslim activists, constituents and leaders together … in denunciation.
Islamophobes Came for Americans on the Campaign Trail – Foreign Policy
Islamophobia ‘very present on both sides of the aisle,’ Tlaib says – POLITICO
The Michigan Democrat discussed our fears and concerns in the wake of the mass shooting in New Zealand.
The Jew Who Died for Ilhan Omar – WSJ
Lawrence Freedman went to Somalia in 1992 as part of the U.S.-led relief effort.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on how to criticize Israel without anti-Semitism | Salon.com
Former secretary of state says Israeli policy is fair game, but we must be “incredibly sensitive” to anti-Semitism
Some Jewish voters are furious at Dems’ defense of Ilhan Omar
Jewish voters furious at Democrats’ defense of Rep. Ilhan Omar say they’re done with the party that has held their support for generations.
Rep. Ilhan Omar’s ‘anti-Semitic tropes’ prompt Jewish New York Dem to apologize to constituents | Fox News
U.S. Rep. Max Rose, a Jewish New York Democrat in his first term in Congress, apologized to visibly frustrated constituents at a town hall in Staten Island on Tuesday for not “protecting them” from fellow freshman Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar’s repeated use of “anti-Semitic tropes.”
Dem apologizes to constituents for Omar’s remarks | TheHill
A freshman House Democrat apologized to his Jewish constituents during a district town hall this week for comments Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) made questioning U.S.-Israel policy that critics considered anti-Semitic. 
Lieberman: Democratic Party is not anti-Jewish, but some members say anti-Semitic things | TheHill
Former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who was once a Democrat, said in an interview broadcast Sunday that the Democratic Party “is not an anti-Jewish party” but that it has members who say anti-Semitic things.
Fox News pulls Judge Jeanine show after Pirro’s Islamophobic remarks – Vox
President Donald Trump isn’t happy about it.
GOP lawmaker defends Chelsea Clinton after confrontation over New Zealand attacks | TheHill
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) on Sunday came to the defense of Chelsea Clinton after a video of protesters confronting her at a vigil for victims of a massacre in New Zealand went viral.
White House dismisses praise of Trump by New Zealand shooter – AOL News
“The president is not a white supremacist. I’m not sure how many times we have to say that,” White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said.
Trump response to New Zealand massacre highlights his combative history with Muslims – The Washington Post
The president’s statements fit a pattern of tepid reactions when Muslims are the victims of an attack.
Trump again punts on white supremacy after New Zealand attacks – CNNPolitics
Once again, President Donald Trump is having a tough time calling out far right-wing white nationalism.
Rep. Bennie Thompson asks tech to explain mosque shooting video spread
House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson wrote to the CEOs of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft requesting a briefing.


Jimmy Carter is now the longest-living President in history – New York Daily News
At 94 years and 172 days old, Carter has surpassed former President George H.W. Bush’s age when he died in November.
Democratic Rep. Vows To Do ‘Everything Physically Possible’ To Keep Donald Trump From Enacting Fake News Bill Similar to Russia’s
“I will do everything physically possible — march with my feet, shout from my lungs, and out-maneuver with my mind — to stop this from happening in America. But you better believe @realDonaldTrump
White House Rejects Request For Info On Putin, Trump Helsinki Meeting
Since Democrats won control of the House in November elections they have become increasingly assertive in investigating the Trump White House.
Steve Bannon Says Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke Are ‘Most Dangerous Ticket for Trump’
Trump’s former campaign chairman talks 2020 during a Rome gathering of the right, comparing Hillary Clinton to a ‘vampire.’
Trump issues first veto of his presidency – POLITICO
The resolution against his emergency declaration was a stunning bipartisan rebuke to Trump, but lawmakers currently do not have the votes to overturn his veto.
Conway’s husband suggests Trump has narcissistic personality disorder | TheHill
George Conway, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s husband and a frequent critic of President Trump, on Monday suggested that the president has at least two diagnosable personality disorders.
Trump calls Kellyanne Conway’s husband ‘a total loser’ – POLITICO
George Conway devoted multiple Twitter posts over the weekend to the president’s mental state.
Kellyanne Conway defends Trump after he attacks her husband – POLITICO
‘You think he should just take that sitting down?’ she says about Trump after George Conway questioned his mental fitness.
Trump: Media ‘working overtime to blame me’ for New Zealand attack | TheHill
President Trump on Monday accused the news media of blaming him for last week’s deadly shootings at a pair of mosques in New Zealand.
Donald Trump Jr. comes to Chelsea Clinton’s defense after NYU video | Fox News
Donald Trump Jr. is defending Chelsea Clinton after the former first daughter was blasted by NYU students who blamed her tweet for the New Zealand mosque attacks.
‘Middle-Class Joe’ rakes in millions – POLITICO
The former VP on the brink of a likely presidential campaign has done quite well financially since leaving office in 2017.
Biden announces he’s running — then corrects himself – POLITICO
“I have the most progressive record of anybody running for the — anybody who would run,&quot; the former vice president said.
Joe Biden cheered at Democratic dinner with verbal slip about running for president – CBS News
Biden said he has the &quot;most progressive record of anybody running,&quot; but quickly corrected himself and said &quot;anybody who would run&quot; and then added, &quot;I didn't mean it&quot;
Republicans up for reelection fear daylight with Trump | TheHill
Senate Republicans who are up for reelection next year are sticking as close to President Trump as possible, especially on his signature issue of illegal immigration and border security.
Trump defends Fox News hosts from attempt to ‘silence’ them | TheHill
President Trump on Sunday defended Fox News hosts, warning that the Democrats and the “Fake News Media” are trying to silence a majority of the country through a campaign against the network’s conservative hosts.
Rep. Devin Nunes suing Twitter for $250 million – POLITICO
The other defendants include &quot;Devin Nunes’ Mom,&quot; &quot;Devin Nunes’ cow&quot; and a GOP communications strategist.
Nunes sues Twitter, some users, seeks over $250M alleging anti-conservative ‘shadow bans,’ smears | Fox News
California GOP Rep. Devin Nunes filed a major lawsuit seeking $250 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages against Twitter and a handful of its users on Monday, accusing the social media site of “shadow-banning conservatives” including himself to influence the 2018 elections, explicitly and systematically censoring opposing viewpoints and “ignoring” lawful complaints of repeated abusive behavior.
California Congressman Devin Nunes Slaps Twitter With $250M Defamation Lawsuit | Deadline
California Republican Devin Nunes filed a $250 million lawsuit against Twitter and a group of users Monday, accusing the social media site of defamation.
Democratic Socialists of America back Bernie: ‘The best chance to beat Trump’ | US news | The Guardian
The group helped leftwing candidates Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib win long-shot elections to Congress in 2018
Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘unfavorable’ rating skyrockets, with most people viewing her negatively: poll | Fox News
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s unfavorable rating has spiked after just months in Congress, with most of the public viewing her negatively rather than favorably, a new poll shows.
Ocasio-Cortez de-listed from board of Justice Democrats after controversy | Fox News
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., reportedly has been de-listed from the board of left-wing activist group Justice Democrats, following legal and ethical questions about her affiliation with the group. 
AOC defends Green New Deal, says narrative being ‘manipulated’ by Trump, other critics | Fox News
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., appeared on a late-night comedy talk show Thursday night but was stone-cold serious in her defense of the Green New Deal, the cornerstone of her progressive agenda.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slams Fox News host for mocking her name
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed Fox News host Laura Ingraham and her guest for mocking how her name is pronounced, saying she only does it because it’s a “Latina thing.”
Trump intensifies attacks on McCain: ‘I never was a fan of John McCain, and I never will be’ – POLITICO
Trump’s comments come days after the president railed against McCain on Twitter.
Finland’s Kai Sauer knocks Nikki Haley for her health care comments
Finland’s Kai Sauer defended the country after former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley appeared to criticize the country’s health care. system.


Top universities that do not consider legacy when admitting students
The recent $25 million college cheating scandal has sparked debate about the legal yet unethical ways in which wealthy students are given advantages including the use of legacy status in admissions.